Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Trump-CNN Wrestling GIF Creator Apologizes

The Reddit user who claimed credit for a meme showing President Trump beating up CNN in a pro wrestling match has apologized.

The meme was tweeted out by Trump's official Twitter account on Sunday (July 2nd).

User "HanA**holeSolo" first shared the GIF last week, a clip of a pro wrestling stunt from 2007 involving Trump, with CNN's logo imposed over the face of  the man Trump "beat up." The GIF was later edited to add sound, and tweeted by the president's account, which drew widespread condemnation and complaints that it could incited violence against members of the media.

"HanA**holeSolo" took credit on Reddit, writing, "Holy s**t!! I wake up and have my morning coffee and who retweets my s**tpost but the MAGA [Make America Great Again] EMPORER himself!!! I am honored!!" But the user apologized on Tuesday (July 4th), one day after CNN said they were able to identify who he is and tried to contact him.

In the lengthy apology, "HanA**holeSolo" said he doesn't advocate violence against the press, stating, "The meme was created purely as satire, it was not meant to be a call to violence against CNN or any other news affiliation. . . . It was a prank, nothing more."

He also apologized for his other offensive posts, writing, "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 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."

The user then contacted CNN and asked that his identity not be revealed, saying he was worried about his safety and the public embarrassment it would bring him and his family. CNN said they decided not to publish his name because he's issued a lengthy apology, taken down his offensive posts, and because, quote, "he said he is not going to repeat this ugly behavior on social media again."

However, the news network added, "CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change."

Meanwhile, the tweet remains posted on Trump's official Twitter account, and the White House has not responded to questions about how the video ended up in the tweet.

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