Reddit User Behind Trump's CNN Bodyslam Video Apologizes: "It Was a Prank, Nothing More"
"I do not advocate violence against the press and the meme I posted was in no way advocating that in any way, shape or form," Redditor "HanAssholeSolo" wrote in a since-deleted message on the site.
Reddit user "HanAssholeSolo," who claimed credit for first posting the video of President Donald Trump bodyslamming a man with the CNN logo superimposed on his head, has apologized for seemingly condoning violence against the media.
The 28-second clip sparked outrage from media pundits and Hollywood stars alike when the president tweeted it on his personal account Sunday morning alongside the caption "FraudNewsCNN."
The Redditor who created the gif took to the site's message board Tuesday and issued a public apology in a post that has since been removed.
"I would like to apologize to the members on the reddit community for getting this site and this sub embroiled in a controversy that should never have happened. 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," the user wrote, clarifying that the gif was just a "prank" that had been misconstrued as "calling for violence."
"I do not advocate violence against the press and the meme I posted was in no way advocating that in any way, shape or form," the post continued. "The meme was created purely as satire, it was not meant to be a call to violence against CNN or any other news affiliation. I had no idea anyone would take it and put sound to it and then have it put up on the President's Twitter feed. It was a prank, nothing more."
The user added that he had the "highest respect for the journalist community" and commended reporters for putting their "lives on the line every day."
The apology comes one day after CNN was able to identify the person behind the username "HanAssholeSolo" and attempted to contact him, as detailed in an exclusive story posted Tuesday night. Though calls and emails were not returned by the user, his letter of apology was subsequently posted to Reddit and all of his prior posts on the site were taken down. According to CNN, the user has since confirmed his identity to the network, which has agreed not to reveal his name "because he is a private citizen who has issued an extensive statement of apology" and "showed his remorse by saying he has taken down all his offending posts."
CNN initially responded to Trump's tweet with the following statement:
"It is a sad day when the President of the United States encourages violence against reporters. Clearly, Sarah Huckabee Sanders lied when she said the President had never done so. Instead of preparing for his overseas trip, his first meeting with Vladimir Putin, dealing with North Korea and working on his health care bill, he is instead involved in juvenile behavior far below the dignity of his office. We will keep doing our jobs. He should start doing his."