As you’ve doubtlessly heard, President Donald Trump tweeted a video of his brief professional wrestling stint in which he’s beating up a guy with the CNN logo superimposed over his head.
That tweet drew widespread condemnation from both sides of the political aisle, but it was actually spawned on the Reddit boards, by a Redditor named “Han A**hole Solo.” And now, he’s apologizing for both that video and a number of other memes —many of them with ugly racist overtones.[lborder]
First of all, I would like to apologize to the members of the reddit community for getting this site and this sub embroiled in a controversy that should never have happened. I would also like to apologize for the posts made that were racist, bigoted, and anti-semitic. I am in no way this kind of person, I love and accept people of all walks of life and have done so for my entire life. I am not the person that the media portrays me to be in real life, I was trolling and posting things to get a reaction from the subs on reddit and never meant any of the hateful things I said in those posts. I would never support any kind of violence or actions against others simply for what they believe in, their religion, or the lifestyle they choose to have. Nor would I carry out any violence against anyone based upon that or support anyone who did.[/lborder] The apology was made as a lengthy post on Reddit (where else?). CNN journalist Andrew Kaczynski reached out to the Redditor (he is keeping his true identity a secret, saying only that he is a “middle-aged man.”) and it seems the two had a productive conversation.
According to Kaczynski, the White House did not ask his permission before using the video, and he would not have given it if they did. “I didn’t realize that post would be picked up the way it was,” he told CNN. “I should have never even said anything.”
His Reddit post went onto say that:
The meme was created purely as satire, it was not meant to be a call to violence against CNN or any other news affiliation. I had no idea anyone would take it and put sound to it and then have it put up on the President’s Twitter feed. It was a prank, nothing more. What the President’s feed showed was not the original post that was posted here, but loaded up somewhere else and sound added to it then sent out on Twitter. I thought it was the original post that was made and that is why I took credit for it. I have the highest respect for the journalist community and they put their lives on the line every day with the jobs that they do in reporting the news.
The post made in a heavily pro-Trump subreddit called The_Donald, whose moderators have since deleted it.
The fact that CNN reached out to the man was met with some controversy, as some interpreted their actions as “doxxing” (threatening to leak an anonymous internet user’s personal information online). Kaczynski says there was no such threat, nor did the Redditor interpret it as such.
The Redditor found himself in an extraordinarily unique situation: A creation of his was taken and broadcast on one of the highest, most public platforms imaginable. Questions of whether or not Trump should have tweeted the video aside, it is notable that this guy recognized his own past mistakes and was willing to come clean about them, however unpopular that might be among his own community.