CNN is facing a strong backlash over its story about the Reddit user who created and uploaded a doctored video-turned-GIF of US President Donald Trump body-slamming the network’s logo.
The network announced in an online story late Tuesday in an online story that the person responsible is that the viral clip stems from a Redditor, who hasn’t been identified publicly save for his username HanA**holeSolo. After reaching out to him, the user issued an apologized on Tuesday for creating the Trump wrestling GIF, which the President himself reposted on his Twitter feed on Sunday.
The video in question was crafted from an old WWE appearance by Trump prior to his election, depicting him tackling a person ringside at a wrestling match whose head has been replaced with the red CNN logo.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 2, 2017
In a lengthy post on the platform’s /TheDonald thread, HanA**HoleSolo explained they had only been ‘trolling.’
He said he is also sorry for dragging the Reddit community for dragging them into the controversy, as well as his previous Reddit posts widely deemed racist, anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic. The user announced he is closing his account.
CNN said it knows the man’s name but decided not to publish it in light of his apology. “CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change,” Kaczynski wrote.
Blackmail Over Trump Wrestling GIF
The story faced a barrage of backlash, with many accusing the publication of blackmail. The hashtag #CNNBlackmail was trending on Twitter Wednesday
“That’s essentially blackmail,” conservative activist Ben Shapiro said, per US News. “That’s CNN stating that it will out the guy if he dares to defy their political perspective or offends them sufficiently.”
Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity also shared another doctored video on Twitter, this time showing a wrestler Trump bashing several other men identified as “CNN” with a chair. “Is CNN going to blackmail this person, too?” Hannity asked.
— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) July 5, 2017
Some social media users called for viewers to contact those who advertise on the network to complain.
— GOP news (@GOPNewsRoom) July 5, 2017
— Brian Epps (@Random_Numbers) July 5, 2017
In response, the network refuted the claims explaining they did not publish the user’s name out of concern for his safety and that there had been no deal to keep his identity private. The author of the article said his last statement was entirely misunderstood.
This line is being misinterpreted. It was intended only to mean we made no agreement w/the man about his identity. https://t.co/9FL6EvTikx
— andrew kaczynski 🤔 (@KFILE) July 5, 2017
Also Read: Poll Says They Trust Putin Over Trump