Few people who generate memes—regardless of whether or not they threaten the fourth estate—expect to see them really catch on, let alone be shared by the president of the United States. But that’s what happened to the Redditor who altered a video of Donald Trump wrasslin’ Vince McMahon during WWE’s 2007 Battle of the Billionaires. The video, which went viral after the president posted it as part of his wake-and-hate Twitter ritual, shows Trump manhandling a stand-in for CNN, all of cable news, and presumably, anyone who disagrees with him. The Reddit user, HanAssholeSolo, gushed about the spread of the anti-press meme in the same subreddits where they’ve posted Islamophobic and anti-Semitic shit, like this graphic about CNN journalists.
The sudden notoriety supposedly proved to be too much for HanAssholeSolo, though, and they reached out to the CNN journalist who had apparently learned their identity to beg to have that information kept confidential. Even though they’d just crowed over having the “MAGA [sic] Emporer” share the meme, HanAssholeSolo posted an apology to The_Donald subreddit, in which they claimed to not be anti-Semitic or racist or anything, but just the kind of person who shares and/or creates the same kind memes. It’s been deleted, but here are some screenshots:
Apparently, Andrew Kaczynski, who’s part of CNN’s KFile investigative team, had agreed not to divulge this idiot’s identity, though the outlet did reserve the right to do so in the future, should HanAssholeSolo ever get up to their old tricks again. You can probably guess how well that kind of arrangement has gone over with the “MAGA Emporer” crowd, not to mention other contingents of the internet. Deadline reports that Donald Trump, Jr. is sticking up for his dad’s preferred meme generator, mocking CNN for devoting any resources to find out who this person is.
But the backlash goes beyond littler Trump; CNN’s also on Julian Assange’s shit list for “coercion.”
Kaczynski says he’s spoken to HanAssholeSolo since this all went down, who says they don’t “feel threatened in any way.” The CNN reporter’s also taken pains to clarify that the apology was posted to Reddit before any conversation between the outlet and HanAssholeSolo took place, which means any offer to keep their identity confidential wasn’t predicated on removing the posts. Furthermore, Kaczynski says the person in question isn’t a 15-year-old boy, as Trump Jr. claims, but “a middle-aged man.” That’s done nothing to slow down the claims of doxxing in the hashtag “#CNNBlackmail,” which also features gifs of people in various states of distress whose heads have been replaced with the CNN logo.