Donald Trump Jr. spent Independence Day weekend going on a tear against CNN for the network’s report on a Reddit user who took credit for editing a clip of President Donald Trump punching somebody with a CNN logo superimposed over their face.
“It was only a matter of time,” Trump Jr. tweeted after CNN reporters cited the Anti-Defamation League’s statement accusing the creator of the meme of anti-Semitism and racism.
Trump Jr. also claimed the creator, Reddit user “HanAssholeSolo,” was 15 years old. CNN KFILE reporter Andrew Kaczynski pushed back on that allegation.
Trump Jr. continued to tweet about the report on Wednesday with the hashtag #CNNBlackmail.
He was undeterred by “HanAssholeSolo”‘s reported remarks to the contrary.
In its original report, CNN cited “HanAssholeSolo”‘s other Reddit posts, “some of which included racist and anti-Semitic imagery.”
“HanAssholeSolo” later deleted his other posts and published an apology on Reddit’s Donald Trump subforum.
“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. “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.”
“HanAssholeSolo” said he “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.”
“The meme was created purely as satire, it was not meant to be a call to violence against CNN or any other news affiliation,” he posted. “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.”
“HanAssholeSolo” called CNN, according to the report, and confirmed his identity during an interview.
“I don’t feel that they should have posted something like that given the controversy going on between them and the media,” he told CNN, referring to Trump’s tweet. “I love people of all races, creeds and origins. One of my best friends is a homosexual and one of my best friends is Jewish and one of my best friends is Muslim.”
CNN said it did not publish the identity of “HanAssholeSolo” “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.”
“CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change,” the report noted, an apparent caveat some reporters found strange.
Kaczynski responded to criticism on Twitter Tuesday.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Wednesday called the CNN report “troubling.”
CNN on Wednesday released a statement pushing back on allegations of blackmail or coercion.
“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 network said. “CNN never made any deal, of any kind, with the user.”