Internet trolls say CNN is blackmailing the guy who posted a viral Donald Trump meme

CNN is learning the hard way that you should never try to appease trolls. Gratitude just isn't in their language

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published July 5, 2017 9:04AM (EDT)

 (Reuters/Shannon Stapleton/Getty/Nicholas Kamm/Photo montage by Salon)
(Reuters/Shannon Stapleton/Getty/Nicholas Kamm/Photo montage by Salon)

CNN is learning the hard way that when you try to be nice to pro-Trump trolls, they do not reciprocate the gratitude.

On Wednesday, CNN tracked down the troll who created the GIF of President Donald Trump tackling an embodiment of "CNN" — in reality the CNN logo superimposed on the body of Vince McMahon during a wrestling match a decade ago. The tweet went viral when Trump retweeted it. CNN discovered that the user, HanAssholeSolo, also posted a slew of racist and anti-Semitic posts. The user was quick to apologize to other users on Reddit.

"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," the apology read. "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."

He added, "The meme was created purely as satire, it was not meant to be a call to violence against CNN or any other news affiliation."

HanAssholeSolo told CNN he was nervous about his identity being revealed, which led CNN to withhold his information because "he is a private citizen who has issued an extensive statement of apology, showed his remorse by saying he has taken down all his offending posts, and because he said he is not going to repeat this ugly behavior on social media again. In addition, he said his statement could serve as an example to others not to do the same."

"CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change," wrote reporter Andrew Kaczynski.
Not surprisingly, this resulted in a wave of pseudo-outrage on the internet, culminating in the troll-y hashtag: #CNNBlackmail.
It has also led to people claiming that CNN's act of kindness constituted literal illegal blackmail and that the troll is a 15-year-old boy (he isn't).

Surprising no one, Julian Assange chimed in.

There is some irony here, considering that President Donald Trump himself was recently accused of blackmailing MSNBC personalities Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski (an accusation that seems to have the left some trolls unmoved).

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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