Strange times we’re living in. Unbearably strange times…
A little over a week ago, we shared the heartwarming story about a kid from Iowa that was able to raise over a million dollars for The University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital in Iowa City.
How did he do it?
A few seconds of air time on ESPN’s College GameDay and Busch Light beer money sign with his Venmo information.
Within a few hours, 24-year-old Carson King had already received thousands of dollars and, instead of keeping it, he decided to donate it all to charity. That’s also when the entire thing exploded.
You can read the full story here, but long story short, Busch Light hopped on board, Venmo hopped on board, newspapers, news stations, everybody was doing everything they could raise as much money as possible for the children battling cancer at The University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. As of last night, King, along with his contributors, had raised over $1 million dollars, with the campaign still running until the end of the month.
King was dubbed an “Iowa Legend” and given a year supply of Busch Light with his own custom cans. He was a hero.
However, everything came to a screeching halt when the Des Moines Register published a “profile” on Carson King. I say “profile” because the author performed a “routine background check” of King’s social media going all the way back to tweets from his high school days. And of course, they found exactly what they were looking for. Dirt.
“A routine background check of King’s social media revealed two racist jokes, 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.”
The tweets referencing jokes from the Comedy Central show Tosh.0 have since been deleted, and King even admitted that he was “sick” about what he “used to think was funny.”
“That’s not something that I’m proud of at all,” he told the Register.
Anheuser-Busch immediately cut ties with King, releasing a statement saying that they will “have no further association” with King, however they will honor their promise to match whatever King raises by the end of the month. And, despite the Register’s public humiliation of a kid that literally just raised a million dollars for children with cancer, King remained humble, apologetic, and courteous.
The Des Moines Register has been nothing but kind in all of their coverage, 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.
And just like that, America’s most heartwarming story has turned into a disheartening circus.
But it gets even worse….
Aaron P. Calvin is a writer for the Des Moines Register. He’s also the writer that wrote the article “profiling” Carson King, and he’s also the writer that thought it was necessary to dig through his high school tweets looking for a reason to trash him. He’s the writer that found the Tosh.0 tweets and he’s the writer that published them, completely derailing this incredible charity effort.
He’s also the writer that tweets extremely racist, sexist, and homophobic shit like this:
Aaron P Calvin forgot the number one rule of maliciously digging through somebody’s past and calling them out for the mistakes they made when they were 16 years old: don’t have an extremely lengthy history of the exact same kind of shit you’re calling out.
Of course the Des Moines Register is “aware” of the EXTREMELY HYPOCRITICAL social media history of “one of their staffers” and an investigation has begun.
One of your staffers? No, he’s not just one of your staffers, he’s the fucking guy that wrote the fucking article. It’s ok, you can say it.
The Register is aware of reports of inappropriate social media posts by one of our staffers, and an investigation has begun.
Other journalists have chimed on Twitter, questioning why this was even published on the first place
If Carson King had been defiant about the two tweets from when he was 16 or doubled down, I would get why the Register would mention them but according the paper, he was deeply remorseful. I fail to see how it was newsworthy, especially given the good work he’s been doing
What’s happening with #CarsonKing is a prime example of our culture today…. constantly and intentionally looking for the bad when there’s so much good to share. Most of ya’ll better be glad social media wasn’t around when you were 16.
Iowans are enraged tonight by the Des Moines Register, wondering why a routine background check involves searching old tweets from a 16-year-old and apparently doesn’t involve searching the old tweets of the author himself.
The silver lining is that these kids at the University of Iowa’s Children’s Hospital are still going to receive a MASSIVE donation thanks to King, something to the tune of well over million dollars. But in spite of all of that, you have to wonder how we’ve possibly sunken this low as a society?
How did we get to a place where a feel-good story about raising money for children battling cancer evokes thoughts of “how can I completely ruin this kid?” When did clicks become more important than the cause at hand? The whole thing is extremely disheartening.
Whether it was to somebody’s face, in a private conversation, or in the public realm of Twitter, there’s no doubt that every single one of us have all said something that we regret. But, part of growing up and maturing is realizing the error of your hurtful ways and reorienting your behavior.
And, Carson King himself is a prime example. In 2016, the same year as Aaron P. Calvin’s disgusting tweets, he tweeted this:
“Until we as a people learn that racism and hate are learned behaviors, we won’t get rid of it. Tolerance towards others is the first step.”
But of course, that part didn’t make it into the article, now did it…