CNN threatened to unmask the Reddit user who created a video posted by President Donald Trump that showed the president beating up WWE founder Vince McMahon with a CNN logo superimposed over his face.
The network threatened Redditor HanA**holeSolo after it was revealed he was the one who created the shocking satirical clip, which went viral after the president shared it.
The network ultimately decided not to do so because the user "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," though CNN clarified it reserves "the right to publish his identity should any of that change," Newser reported.
The Redditor's apology circulated online after it was revealed that HanA**holeSolo had a history of anti-Semitic and racist remarks on the website.
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"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 Redditor wrote.
"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 said he had the "highest respect for the journalist community" and applauded reporters for putting their "lives on the line every day."
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CNN initially responded to the controversy after the White House defended Trump's tweet.
"It is a sad day when the President of the United States encourages violence against reporters," the network said in a statement, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The CNN statement added, "Clearly, [White House deputy press secretary] Sarah Huckabee Sanders lied when she said the President had never done so. Instead of preparing for his overseas trip, his first meeting with [Russian President] 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."