UPDATE: A video shared by President Donald Trump with his Twitter followers and a video singled out by CNN appear to have "substantial differences," WikiLeaks has reported. Implying that that alone may prove the news network got the wrong internet user when claiming the creator of the video was HanA******Solo, WikiLeaks tweeted:
CNN appears to have even identified the wrong person over Trump's CNN meme tweet. Video tweeted by Trump has substantial differences.— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) July 5, 2017
But the hub for whistleblower-sourced material isn't the only member of the media that is making this claim. Some conservative-leaning news organizations have also made similar assumptions.
According to Hot Air, "'HanA******Solo' provided the footage, apparently, but he didn’t make the exact GIF that Trump tweeted." If that was the case, then CNN may have ousted the original creator of the video but not the person who made the video a bit extra aggressive, which is the version that ended up on the president's feed.
Regardless of who's behind the actual GIF shared by Trump, many members of the alt-right community have begun threatening Andrew Kaczynski, the journalist known as KFile who first named Reddit user HanA******Solo as the man behind the GIF.
On Twitter, alt-right commentator Mike Cernovich told Kaczynski that "we are coming for you."
Later, Cernovich added that “sources” told him that many conservatives were planning to show up at Kaczynski’s house for a protest.
Many in the news industry believe that CNN's decision to threaten to make HanA******Solo's personal information public is dangerous, according to Vox's German Lopez. However, Vox also notes that what Cernovich and others are doing is essentially the same by circulating an address that is reportedly Kaczynski's. This poses major physical threats to those involved as people who may feel personally offended or angry about either HanA******Solo's video or Kaczynski's alleged threat may end up taking matters into their own hands.
President Donald Trump unabashedly endorsed violence against journalists after posting a doctored video of himself slamming a man whose head had been superimposed with a CNN logo.
White House officials apparently thought this blatant display of violence toward journalists was just a joke.
The Daily Beast cited an anonymous Trump official saying, “The president fights back. It’s rich that some of you people [in the media] can never take a joke.”
It is believed the tweet was created with some help from Director of Social Media Dan Scavino. “I thought it was funny,” the unnamed official told the publication. “Glad Scavino and the president did that.”
However, far from being funny, the tweet was potentially life-threatening for at least one reporter.
Shortly after the CNN logo video went viral, Jared Yates Sexton, a journalist who teaches creative writing and linguistics at Georgia Southern University, reported the clip was, in fact, an internet meme created by Reddit user, “HanA******Solo.”
In response to this report, Sexton reportedly started receiving death threats from unknown people. Meanwhile, the original creator of the video clip expressed his joy over being tweeted by the POTUS.
“Holy s**t!! I wake up and have my morning coffee and who retweets my shitpost but the MAGA EMPORER [sic] himself!!! I am honored!!,” he wrote on the pro-Trump subreddit r/the_Donald.
It later emerged “HanA******Solo” had a history of posting racist, anti-Semitic posts. His offensive posts casually used derogatory terms including “n*****,” “goatf****r” and “f****t.”
However, the Reddit user recently changed his racist rhetoric after CNN’s KFile revealed his online identity (HanA******Solo). KFile attempted to contact the man by email and phone, he did not respond.
Subsequently, he posted an extensive apology on the subreddit /The_Donald and deleted all of his other posts, mentioning he was addicted to trolling.
"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."
He publically apologized to the media outlets, who were subjected to the violence with his post.
"The meme was created purely as satire, it was not meant to be a call to violence against CNN or any other news affiliation," he wrote. "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. I thought it was the original post that was made and that is why I took credit for it. I have the highest respect for the journalist community and they put their lives on the line every day with the jobs that they do in reporting the news."
He also had a message for all the anonymous users.
"To people who troll on the Internet for fun, consider your words and actions conveyed in your message and who it might upset or anger," he wrote. "Put yourself in their shoes before you post it. If you have a problem with trolling it is an addiction just like any other addiction someone can have to something and don't be embarrassed to ask for help. Trolling is nothing more than bullying a wide audience. Don't feed your own self-worth based upon inflicting suffering upon others online just because you are behind a keyboard."
Moderators from the pro-Trump subreddit swiftly deleted the apology.
After making the apology, "HanA**holeSolo" called CNN's KFile (journalist Andrew Kaczynski) and confirmed his identity. According to the news channel, he sounded nervous in the interview while giving his identity. The Reddit user requested CNN not reveal his name, fearing his personal safety and for the public embarrassment that it would entail.