- 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.
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.”
The Des Moines Register has declined to comment on Calvin’s old tweets, but it said it’s launched an investigation.
The Register is aware of reports of inappropriate social media posts by one of our staffers, and an investigation has begun.— Des Moines Register (@DMRegister) September 25, 2019
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)
Florida School Says Students Vaccinated Against COVID-19 Must Stay Home for 30 Days
The school falsely claimed that people who have just been vaccinated risk “shedding” the coronavirus and could infect others.
Centner Academy Vaccination Policy
A private school in Florida is now requiring all students who get vaccinated against COVID-19 to quarantine for 30 days before returning to class.
According to the local Miami outlet WSVN, Centner Academy wrote a letter to parents last week describing COVID vaccines as “experimental” and citing anti-vaccine misinformation.
“If you are considering the vaccine for your Centner Academy student(s), we ask that you hold off until the Summer when there will be time for the potential transmission or shedding onto others to decrease,” the letter reportedly stated.
“Because of the potential impact on other students and our school community, vaccinated students will need to stay at home for 30 days post-vaccination for each dose and booster they receive and may return to school after 30 days as long as the student is healthy and symptom-free.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has debunked the false claim that those newly vaccinated against COVID-19 can “shed” the virus.
According to the agency’s COVID myths page, vaccine shedding “can only occur when a vaccine contains a weakened version of the virus,” but “none of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines in the United States contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19.”
In fact, early research has suggested that vaccinated people are less likely to spread the virus than unvaccinated people.
Beyond that, unvaccinated people are more likely to spread COVID in general because they are much more likely to get the virus than vaccinated people. According to recently published CDC data, as of August, unvaccinated people were six times more likely to get COVID than vaccinated people and 11 times more likely to die from the virus.
Centner Academy Continues Spread of Misinformation
In a statement to The Washington Post Monday, Centner Academy co-founder David Centner doubled down on the school’s new policy, which he described as a “precautionary measure” based on “numerous anecdotal cases that have been in circulation.”
“The school is not opining as to whether unexplained phenomena have a basis in fact, however we prefer to err on the side of caution when making decisions that impact the health of the school community,” he added.
The new rule echoes similar efforts Centner Academy has made that run counter to public health guidance and scientific knowledge.
In April, the school made headlines when its leadership told vaccinated school employees that they were not allowed to be in contact with any students “until more information is known” and encouraged employees to wait until summer to get the jab.
According to The New York Times, the following week, a math and science teacher allegedly told students not to hug their vaccinated parents for more than five seconds.
The outlet also reported that the school’s other co-founder, Leila Centner, discouraged masking, but when state health officials came for routine inspections, teachers said they were directed in a WhatsApp group to put masks on.
See what others are saying: (WSVN) (The Washington Post) (Business Insider)
Katie Couric Says She Edited Ruth Bader Ginsburg Quote About Athletes Kneeling During National Anthem
Couric said she omitted part of a 2016 interview in order to “protect” the justice.
Kate Couric Edited Quote From Justice Ginsburg
In her upcoming book, journalist Katie Couric admitted to editing a quote from Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg in 2016 in order to “protect” Ginsberg from potential criticism.
Couric interviewed the late justice for an article in Yahoo News. During their discussion, she asked Ginsburg about her thoughts on athletes like Colin Kaepernick kneeling for the national anthem to protest racial inequality.
“I think it’s really dumb of them,” Ginsburg is quoted saying in the piece. “Would I arrest them for doing it? No. I think it’s dumb and disrespectful. I would have the same answer if you asked me about flag burning. I think it’s a terrible thing to do, but I wouldn’t lock a person up for doing it. I would point out how ridiculous it seems to me to do such an act.”
According to The Daily Mail and The New York Post, which obtained advance copies of Couric’s book “Going There,” there was more to Ginsburg’s response. Couric wrote that she omitted a portion where Ginsburg said the form of protest showed a “contempt for a government that has made it possible for their parents and grandparents to live a decent life…Which they probably could not have lived in the places they came from.“
Couric Says She Lost Sleep Making Choice
“As they became older they realize that this was youthful folly,” Ginsberg reportedly continued. “And that’s why education is important.“
According to The Daily Mail, Couric wrote that the Supreme Court’s head of public affairs sent an email asking to remove comments about kneeling because Ginsburg had misspoken. Couric reportedly added that she felt a need to “protect” the justice, thinking she may not have understood the question. Couric reached out to her friend, New York Times reporter David Brooks, regarding the matter and he allegedly likewise believed she may have been confused by the subject.
Couric also wrote that she was a “big RBG fan” and felt her comments were “unworthy of a crusader for equality.” Because she knew the remarks could land Ginsburg in hot water, she said she “lost a lot of sleep” and felt “conflicted” about whether or not to edit them out.
Couric was trending on Twitter Wednesday and Thursday as people questioned the ethics behind her choice to ultimately cut part of the quote. Some thought the move showed a lack of journalistic integrity while others thought revealing the story now harmed Ginsburg’s legacy.
See what others are saying: (New York Post) (The Daily Mail) (Insider)
Biden Administration Orders ICE To Halt Workplace Raids
The Department of Homeland Security will now focus on targeting employers who exploit undocumented workers, instead of carrying out raids that dissuade those workers from reporting labor violations.
DHS Reverses Worksite Raid Policy
The Biden administration announced Tuesday that it was ordering Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to stop workplace raids.
The move marks a reversal from Trump administration policies that have been strongly criticized by immigration activists who argue the efforts created fear in immigrant communities and dissuaded them from reporting labor violations or exploitative employment practices.
In addition to stopping the raids, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a memo that the administration will refocus enforcement efforts to instead target “employers who exploit unauthorized workers, conduct illegal activities or impose unsafe working conditions.”
Mayorkas added that the immigration agencies housed in DHS will have the next 60 days to identify harmful existing policies and come up with new ones that provide better deportation protections for workers who report their employers.
In the Tuesday memo, the secretary argued that shift of focus will “reduce the demand for illegal employment by delivering more severe consequences to exploitative employers” and “increase the willingness of workers to report violations of law by exploitative employers and cooperate in employment and labor standards investigation.”
Labor Market Implications
The new policy comes at a time when the U.S. is experiencing a critical labor shortage, including in many sectors that rely on immigrant labor.
Some companies that use undocumented workers pay them wages that are far below the market rate, which is not only exploitative but also undercuts competitors.
According to Mayorkas, the pivot to employer-based enforcement will help protect American businesses.
“By exploiting undocumented workers and paying them substandard wages, the unscrupulous employers create an unfair labor market,” he said in the memo. “They also unfairly drive down their costs and disadvantage their business competitors who abide by the law.”
It is currently unclear how effective the new efforts will be, but historical precedent does not paint an optimistic picture.
The Biden administration’s efforts closely mirror a similar move by the Obama administration, which attempted to reverse workplace raids authorized under President George W. Bush by targetting those who employ undocumented workers rather than the workers themselves.
That effort, however, still led to thousands of undocumented workers being fired.