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Reporter Who Dug Up Carson King Tweets Criticized For Own Offensive Posts

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  • The Des Moines Register published a profile piece Tuesday on Carson King—the man who has raised over $1 million for an Iowa children’s hospital after displaying his Venmo on ESPN’s “College GameDay.”
  • The outlet reported on two racist tweets King made in 2012 when he was 16-years-old. 
  • Before the Register published the story, King broke the news on local TV, and Anheuser Busch later ended its partnership with him but promised it would still match his donations.
  • Soon after, #StandWithCarson began trending on Twitter, with users then uncovering the Register reporter’s own racist and even homophobic posts from the same time period. 

Des Moines Register Digs Up Old Tweets

The Iowa man who turned a small beer fundraiser into a million-dollar children’s hospital donation is facing backlash and support online after a profile piece by the Des Moines Register exposed two racist tweets from 2012.

The article in question focuses on 24-year-old Carson King, who picked up national attention this month when he was seen on ESPN’s “College GameDay” holding a sign asking for beer money.

“Busch Light Supply Needs Replenished,” the sign read along with his Venmo username. 

King said the sign had originally been a joke, but once money began pouring in, he decided to donate it to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.

In his profile of King, Des Moines Register Reporter Aaron Calvin opened with a small anecdote about King’s step-grandmother and continued by diving into his now-viral story.

Near the end of the Register’s article, however, Calvin mentions two racist tweets that were posted when King was 16-yeard old.

“A routine background check of King’s social media revealed two racist jokes,” Calvin wrote, “one comparing black mothers to gorillas and another making light of black people killed in the holocaust. The joke tweets date back to 2012, when King was a 16-year-old high school student.”

King then reportedly told Calvin the tweets made him “sick” and that he was remorseful for them. 

“That’s not something that I’m proud of at all,” King told the Register. 

Following his interview with Calvin, King deleted his old tweets. 

Before that article was published, King reached out local TV outlets to defend himself, saying in a statement that those posts quoted and referenced the show Tosh.0.

“I am embarrassed and stunned to reflect on what I thought was funny when I was 16-year-old,” he said to reporters while reading a statement. “I want to sincerely apologize.”

Following his interview, King then also took to Twitter to apologize.

“The Des Moines Register has been nothing but kind in all of their coverage,” he said, “and I appreciate the reporter pointing out the post to me. I want everyone to understand that this was my decision to publicly address the posts and apologize. I believe that is the right thing to do.”

Also following the news of King’s old tweets, Anheuser-Busch ended their partnership with him after having previously gifted him a year’s supply of Busch Light with his face printed on the cans. 

In a statement, Anheuser-Busch said King’s posts “do not align with our values as a brand or as a company,” though it said it will continue to match King’s donation. 

King’s Venmo account will be open until the end of the month to continue to collect donations for the children’s hospital.

Online Response

The story has started yet another conversation about “cancel culture;” however, unlike most examples where people on social media criticize a company for inaction, people are now criticizing Anheuser-Busch for severing ties with King. By Wednesday morning, #StandWithCarson was a trending topic on Twitter.

Across social media, people also questioned why the Register would publish the information since King is a normal person not seeking to use the money he’s raising for himself.

Des Moines Register Responds

The Register responded by issuing its own statement Tuesday night explaining why it included the information about King’s tweets. In that statement, the paper’s executive editor said several editors had a discussion on whether or not to publish them. 

“The jokes were highly inappropriate and were public posts,” the statement from Executive Editor Carol Hunter reads. “Shouldn’t that be acknowledged to all the people who had donated money to King’s cause or were planning to do so?”

“The counter argument: The tweets were posted seven years ago, when King was 16,” it continues. “And he was remorseful. Should we chalk up the posts to a youthful mistake and omit the information?”

Ultimately, the editors decided to include the information at the bottom of the article in an attempt to be transparent. 

“Reasonable people can look at the same set of facts and disagree on what merits publication,” Hunter concluded. “But rest assured such decisions are not made lightly and are rooted in what we perceive as the public good.”

Des Moines Reporter’s Racist and Homophobic Tweets

Alongside the support King saw online, many on social media began looking into Calvin’s social media. Users eventually uncovered a series of racist and homophobic tweets made by the reporter between 2010 and 2013. 

In one, he reportedly mocked the legalization of gay marriage, saying he was going to marry a horse. According to multiple media outlets, he also repeatedly used the n-word. 

Calvin then found himself apologizing for his own tweets on Wednesday morning.

“Hey just wanted to say that I have deleted previous tweets that have been inappropriate or insensitive,” he said. “I apologize for not holding myself to the same high standards as the Register holds others.”

Source: @aaronpcalvin

Calvin then changed his Twitter profile to private. 

The Des Moines Register has declined to comment on Calvin’s old tweets, but it said it’s launched an investigation.

Carson King Day

Wednesday, the State of Iowa awarded King with his own day to be held on Sept. 28.

The memo calls King a “force for change” and states that he showcases “who [Iowans] are as a people, not only by selflessly donating to a worthy cause, but by spreading the message of generosity.

See what others are saying: (KCCI) (Washington Post) (Fox News)

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Nearly 700,000 People to Lose Food Stamp Aid Under New Policy

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  • A new rule was finalized on Wednesday that tightens work restrictions for the federal food stamp program.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that 688,000 people will be cut from the program when the rule takes effect next year.
  • Those in favor of the change argue that it will push unemployed individuals to find jobs, while critics say it will hurt them more than it will help them.

New Rule

Trump administration finalized a new rule that could remove almost 700,000 people from the federal food stamp program. The rule, announced in a press release on Wednesday, creates stricter work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) final rule promotes work for able-bodied adults between the ages of 18 and 49 without dependents,” the press release said.  

Under current regulations, this demographic can receive three months of SNAP benefits throughout a three year period, unless they work or undergo professional training for at least 20 hours a week. 

States have had the ability to waive this time limit to account for economic turbulence, and counties with unemployment rates as low as 2.5% were eligible for these remissions. The new rule will make 6% the minimum unemployment rate to qualify for these waivers, according to the Washington Post.

It will take effect on April 1, 2020.

Impact on Americans

While the USDA originally estimated that up to 750,000 people would be cut from SNAP with this change, now they have adjusted that number to 688,000. 

The finalized regulation is the first of three proposed measures to limit access to the federal food stamp program. A new study by the Urban Institute found that if the other two rules are approved, nearly 4 million people would lose access to food benefits.

After the new rule was proposed in February, there was an abundance of public comments imploring the administration not to go through with it. 

But the USDA was not swayed and held strong in their argument that SNAP should be a form of temporary assistance instead of a long-term lifestyle. 

“Government can be a powerful force for good, but government dependency has never been the American dream,” said Sonny Perdue, Secretary of Agriculture. “We need to encourage people by giving them a helping hand but not allowing it to become an indefinitely giving hand.”

Those who support the rule are optimistic that it will push unemployed individuals to find jobs. 

“The changes reflect the belief that more Americans can enter and reenter the workforce,” Brandon Lipps, the USDA’s Deputy Under Secretary, told the Washington Post. “So they can know the dignity of work.”

Critics of the change were extremely disappointed upon the news of the rule’s finalization, deeming it a step in the wrong direction.

“The Trump administration is driving the vulnerable into hunger just as the Christmas season approaches,” Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader, said on the floor Wednesday. “It is heartless. It is cruel. It exposes a deep and shameful cruelness and hypocrisy in this administration.”

Rep. Marcia L. Fudge, chairwoman of the House Agriculture Committee’s subcommittee on nutrition, released a press statement on Wednesday after hearing the news.

“The Administration refuses to take an honest look at the people they are targeting with this rule and what challenges they face that contribute to their hunger…” she said. “…Instead of considering hungry individuals and their unique struggles and needs, the Department has chosen to paint them with the broadest brush, demonizing them as lazy and undeserving.”

See what others are saying: (New York Times) (NPR) (NBC)

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Melania Trump Blasts Law Professor for Dropping Son’s Name in Impeachment Testimony Joke

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  • Stanford law professor Pamela Karlan made a joke referencing President Donald Trump’s son in her impeachment hearing testimony on Wednesday. 
  • Melania Trump criticized Karlan on Twitter for bringing her child into a political matter.
  • Some condemned Karlan while others thought her wordplay was harmless. 
  • Many Twitter users called the FLOTUS hypocritical for defending her child but staying silent on her husband’s treatment of other minors, including teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg and migrant children experiencing inhumane treatment at the border.

Karlan’s Joke

Pamela Karlan, a Stanford law professor, dropped a controversial joke while testifying in the ongoing impeachment hearing against President Donald Trump on Wednesday. 

While explaining the difference between the POTUS and a king, she used a play on words with the name of his teenage son, Barron.

“The constitution says there can be no titles of nobility,” Karlan said. “So while the president can name his son Barron, he can’t make him a baron.”

Karlan’s joke received a scattering of laughter around the room, including a chuckle from Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, who posed the question of how the president compares to royalty.  

Melania Trump took to Twitter to defend her son, condemning Karlan’s name-dropping comment. 

“A minor child deserves privacy and should be kept out of politics,” the first lady wrote. “Pamela Karlan, you should be ashamed of your very angry and obviously biased public pandering, and using a child to do it.”

Further Backlash

Karlan was put on blast by other prominent figures for her mention of the president’s son. Vice President Mike Pence called her joke a “new low.”

Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Republican from Florida who strongly supports the president, chastised her directly on the floor Wednesday. 

“Let me also suggest that when you invoke the President’s son’s name here, when you try to make a little joke out of referencing Barron Trump, that does not lend credibility to your argument,” he said. “It makes you look mean.”

The Trump campaign released an official statement on the topic.

“Only in the mind of crazed liberals is it funny to drag a 13-year-old into the impeachment nonsense,” National Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said.

Karlan’s Apology

Later in the day, Prof. Karlan apologized for her remarks, but not without mentioning that she wishes Donald Trump would also admit to his faults. 

“I want to apologize for what I said earlier about the president’s son. It was wrong of me to do that,” she said during her testimony. “I wish the president would apologize obviously for the things that he’s done that’s wrong, but I do regret having said that.”

Defense of the Professor

While some were outraged by Karlan’s play on words, others spoke up to defend her, deeming the joke harmless.

Some Twitter users criticized the FLOTUS for being quick to defend her own son but staying silent on her husband’s treatment of other minors, including teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg and migrant children experience inhumane treatment at the border.

See what others are saying: (CNN) (NBC) (Newsweek)

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George Zimmerman Sues Trayvon Martin’s Family for $100M, Citing Defamation

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  • George Zimmerman is suing Trayvon Martin’s parents, their lawyer, and a publishing company for $100 million, citing defamation relating to the 2013 case involving Martin’s shooting.
  • The lawsuit cites a documentary titled The Trayvon Hoax, which accuses Martin’s parents of falsifying testimony.
  • Ben Crump, a lawyer for Martin’s parents, called the lawsuit unfounded and reckless.

Zimmerman’s Lawsuit

The man who shot and killed Trayvon Martin is now suing Martin’s family, their lawyer, and a publishing company for allegedly engaging in false testimony during the 2013 trials related to Martin’s death.

According to reports, George Zimmerman and his lawyers are alleging defamation, saying that Martin family and their prosecutors “have worked in concert to deprive Zimmerman of his constitutional and other legal rights.” Because of this, Zimmerman is asking for $100 million in civil damages.

Zimmerman’s suit cites information from a documentary titled The Trayvon Hoax. It also claims that the Martin family lied in court. 

Zimmerman’s suit cites information from a documentary titled The Trayvon Hoax. It also claims that the Martin family lied in court. 

On top of suing Martin’s family, Zimmerman is also suing the publisher Harper Collins after it released a book titled Open Season: Legalized Genocide of Colored People, which was written by Ben Crump, the lawyer who represented Martin’s family in the case against Zimmerman.

While The Trayvon Hoax was scheduled to be screened at the Coral Gable Art Cinema Thursday following a noon press conference giving more details about the lawsuit, the theater later canceled the screening as news of Zimmerman’s lawsuit surfaced.

In a statement responding to the allegations, Crump said he hoped the lawsuit would soon be thrown out.

“I have every confidence that this unfounded and reckless lawsuit will be revealed for what it is – another failed attempt to defend the indefensible and a shameless attempt to profit off the lives and grief of others,” he said.

Trayvon Martin’s Death

Zimmerman shot and killed Martin in Florida on Feb. 26, 2012. At the time, Martin had been visiting his father.

The night he died, Martin had reportedly been walking home after buying candy and a drink at a gas station. Zimmerman, who was part of the community’s volunteer neighborhood watch, then called the police to report a suspicious-looking person in a dark hoodie.

“These assholes, they always get away,” Zimmerman told the dispatcher.

About two minutes into the call, Zimmerman said he saw Martin then began to run. He then chased after Martin despite the dispatcher telling him not to.

Soon after the phone call ended, Zimmerman and Martin reportedly engaged in a violent altercation that ultimately led to Martin’s death.

Zimmerman was then arrested and charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter.

In the months that followed, the trial gained national scrutiny as many waited to see what would happen to Zimmerman after shooting an unarmed black teenager.

Ultimately, Zimmerman was acquitted of all charges in 2013 after claiming self-defense in court.

See what others are saying: (Miami Herald) (Washington Post) (NBC News)

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