In a 4th of July article, CNN’s website stated that the Reddit user responsible for creating an animated image mocking the network had apologized for “the video and other offensive content he posted — one day after CNN identified the man behind the account and attempted to make contact with him.”
In the article, CNN promised not to reveal the user’s name 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.”
BUT…(here’s the kicker)…the network said it “reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change.”
Wow! Blackmail much?
Exclusive: CNN tracked down the Reddit user behind the Trump wrestling GIF. Now he's apologizing. https://t.co/HMEKfD1De3
— CNN (@CNN) July 5, 2017
Well, the popular opinion on Twitter suggests people aren’t too fond of how the network handled this, and they’ve shown this by making “#CNNBlackMail” the latest top trending hashtag.
Below are just a few noteworthy examples:
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
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
If you think the Reddit guy's name is newsworthy, publish it. If it's not, don't.
— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) July 5, 2017
And naturally, the network’s plan backfired in a major way, as gifs, memes, and additional animated images have ensued, further mocking and ridiculing the network.
— Caligula Casanova (@FallenCasanova) July 5, 2017
CNN should be ashamed of itself. A major media network blackmailing a private citizen over something that was created “purely as satire,” meant as “a prank, nothing more?” Really? Come on. If it didn’t deserve the ridicule before, it certainly does now.