The Worst '12 Years a Slave' Headlines Yet

This image was removed due to legal reasons.

You know what’s great? Winning the Oscar for Best Picture. Also, writing stories about said win that will hopefully bring in pageviews for something that doesn't involve a heinous murder or John Travolta-inspired novelty Twitter accounts. You know what’s not great? Writing really horrible headlines about an award-winning movie chronicling the horrors of slavery in America.


There are many headline writers and editors who seem not to quite know how to best articulate 12 Years a Slave’s big Oscar win:

This image was removed due to legal reasons.

This headline comes courtesy of the Daily Breeze, a pleasantly-named paper out of Torrance, California. HyperVocal has a PDF version, should you want to check out the full page. Poynter's Andrew Beaujon reached out to the publisher's vice president of news and executive editor to ask how this managed to get approved and was told that it "should never have happened" and that there will be "internal discipline" at the paper.

This image was removed due to legal reasons.

Over in Illinois, the News-Gazette similarly elected to go with a slavery-related pun for its story on the film's Oscar win and was summarily called out by several Twitter users, as is wont to happen. The paper later amended its headline to a more innocuous "'12 Years a Slave' wins best picture at Oscars; 'Gravity' wins 7 statues," but not before several sites, including Hip Hop Wired, managed to post screen grabs of the original.

The lesson in all this: Maybe save reducing slavery to a cutesy pun for your awards show live-Tweets. Or, actually, maybe don't do that either. Maybe refrain from trying to meld "cuteness" and "slavery" into a tiny little jumble of words.