#CNNBlackmail: Network blasted for ‘threatening’ Trump meme creator
When Trump shared a meme of him wrestling a man with CNN’s logo for a head, the news organization accused the president of encouraging “violence against reporters.”
Now, CNN has been accused of both threatening and blackmailing the creator of the wrestling meme.
CNN’s KFile’ discovered the real identity of the Reddit user credited with creating the meme, HanA**holeSolo, and tried to contact him. The meme creator then apologized on Reddit, saying he doesn’t advocate violence against the media. According to CNN, he then got in touch with KFile and asked not to be named.
CNN tracks a 15 year old meme maker down in a few days but can't prove Russia conspiracy in over a year. #CNNBlackmail— Randy Newton (@threezeroleft) July 5, 2017
CNN said it won’t publish his name “because he is a private citizen who has issued an extensive statement of apology,” adding that “CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change.”
As #CNNBlackmail began trending on Twitter, the network’s ethics were called into question, with many criticizing CNN for crossing a line.
I can't emphasize how bad this is on CNN's part. This is basically "don't post stuff we don't like or we'll dox you." Extremely unethical. pic.twitter.com/5bJZIZasH0— German Lopez (@germanrlopez) July 5, 2017
This is not okay. This is not even close to okay. https://t.co/Pr7yojcW1T— Palmer Luckey (@PalmerLuckey) July 5, 2017
Count me among those that find's CNNs veiled doxing threat to Han Assh*leSolo very, very ethically shaky. pic.twitter.com/2KwfJV6Ap9— Brianna Wu (@Spacekatgal) July 5, 2017
It took CNN 24 hours to fire Kathy Griffin for her assassination porn, but they threaten a kid for a harmless wrestling meme? #CNNBlackmail— Stefan Molyneux (@StefanMolyneux) July 5, 2017
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange accused the network of “blackmailing a private citizen,” saying “it is not journalism.”
A multi-billion dollar TV network blackmailing a private citizen into not making funny videos about it is not journalism, CNN. #CNNBlackmail— Julian Assange (@JulianAssange) July 5, 2017
Assange also pointed to a number of laws he says CNN has violated, including coercion under the New York criminal code, and federal felony violations of the 1st Amendment.
He also reminded his followers that the network falsely told its audience in October that reading WikiLeaks’ releases was illegal.
As the meme war raged, CNN’s behavior left people wondering whether the network would expose them too.
KFile’s Andrew Kaczynski responded to the criticism by tweeting the apparent threat was “misinterpreted.”
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
FYI "HanAssholeSolo" just called me."I am in total agreement with your statement. I was not threatened in anyway." https://t.co/7se1B8Z29D— andrew kaczynski 🤔 (@KFILE) July 5, 2017
“It was intended only to mean we made an agreement w/the man about his identity,” he said, adding the person had called him to say, “I was not threatened in anyway [sic].”