This is posted on Wednesday, July 5, 2017 by Rodney Hoemail@example.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
CNN figured out the identity of the Reddit user who first posted a wrestling GIF, a version of which President Donald Trump re-tweeted on Sunday.
Once the Atlanta-based network contacted him, he apologized and asked the news organization not identify who he is. CNN agreed but left it open that they would name him if he continued his actions, which to many sounded like a threat.
Critics on Twitter began using the trending hashtag #CNNBlackmail. This led CNN to later deny this was the case at all and counter rumors online that the Reddit user was only 15.
"CNN decided not to publish the name of the Reddit user out of concern for his safety. Any assertion that the network blackmailed or coerced him is false. The user, who is an adult male, not a 15-year-old boy, apologized and deleted his account before ever speaking with our reporter."
The video was posted a week ago on Reddit by someone who called himself "HanA**holeSolo" in which he super-imposed the CNN logo on top of Vince McMahon's face while Trump "pummeled" him during a WWE wrestling program in 2007.
The man had posted other items that were considered racist and anti-Semitic on Reddit. Once he knew CNN knew who he was, he posted a note on Reddit, which included this:
"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," he wrote. "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."
"It was a prank, nothing more," the man added. "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."
After he posted the apology (since taken down), he spoke with CNN and asked not to be identified, saying he feared for his personal safety and the embarrassment it would bring to him and his family.
Critics of CNN's move came from both the left and the right. And Trump's son Donald Trump Jr. threw in his two cents: