Mr. President, we hope you’re paying attention.
We live in strange times. In July 2017, we exist in a world where a grown man who goes by the internet handle HanAssholeSolo created a GIF featuring Donald Trump wrestling CNN. Even stranger is the fact that the president of the United States tweeted the GIF out to the world, inciting outrage, dismay, and a general sense of national shame.
After President Trump tweeted the GIF on Sunday, Reddit user HanAssholeSolo took credit for its creation on the subreddit /The_Donald. Soon after, many of HanAssholeSolo’s other memes featuring anti-Semitic and racist imagery spread around social media.
Here's another meme from the guy Trump tweeted, this one showing CNN personalities with Jewish stars. pic.twitter.com/BJoJ751eMQ— Jared Yates Sexton (@JYSexton) July 2, 2017\n
On Monday, CNN’s KFile reportedly identified the man behind the HanAssholeSolo user name and attempted to contact him by telephone and email, but he didn’t respond. On Tuesday, he reached out to CNN and nervously asked the news giant to keep his identity secret for fear of his personal safety. He also did something that anonymous people on the internet rarely do — he issued a lengthy apology. Here’s an excerpt:
“My fellow redditors, First of all, I would like to apologize to the members of 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, I love and accept people of all walks of life and have done so for my entire life. I am not the person that the media portrays me to be in real 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. I 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. Nor would I carry out any violence against anyone based upon that or support anyone who did ...
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. Our first amendment protects the press from things like violence, and we as American citizens should respect that even if the opinions of the press are not in line with our own. 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. What the President’s feed showed was not the original post that was posted here, but loaded up somewhere else and sound added to it then sent out on Twitter …
So to the members of this community, the site, the media (especially CNN), and anyone offended by the posts, again I apologize. This is one individual that you will not see posting hurtful or hateful things in jest online. This is my last post from this account and I wanted to do it on a positive note and hopefully it will heal the controversy that this all caused. Peace”
In response to HanAssholeSolo’s apology, CNN has decided not to expose him to the public.
“CNN is not publishing “HanA**holeSolo’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. In addition, he said his statement could serve as an example to others not to do the same.”
Although we may never learn the racist troll/space cowboy’s real identity, perhaps the biggest question still remains his choice of username.
HanAssholo was right there and this guy went with HanAssholeSolo.— Luke O'Neil (@lukeoneil47) July 5, 2017\n