CNN slammed for threat to reveal identity of Trump 'wrestling' CNN creator

CNN slammed for threat to reveal identity of Trump 'wrestling' CNN creator
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CNN is facing backlash on social media after tracking down the creator of a video of President Trump tackling a man with a CNN logo superimposed over his head and appearing to suggest it would reveal the person's identity if he engaged in "ugly behavior" on social media again.

"He is a private citizen who has issued an extensive statement of apology, showed his remorse by saying he has taken down all his offending posts and because he said he is not going to repeat this ugly behavior on social media again," the story, titled "How CNN found the Reddit user behind the Trump wrestling GIF," reads on CNN.com

"CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change," it adds. 

The blowback on social media against CNN has resulted in #CNNBlackmail trending on Twitter and includes condemnation from several public figures, including WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Donald TrumpDonald TrumpScaramucci says he will contact FBI, Justice Dept. over leaked financial disclosure Dem rep to introduce measure requiring White House to disclose pardons Lawmakers push to toughen foreign lobbying rules MORE Jr. and Vox's German Lopez. 

The original video, from WWE's Wrestlemania in 2007, shows Trump in a cameo taking WWE CEO Vince McMahon to the ground and punching him in the face in a staged stunt. The president retweeted the video, prompting CNN to accuse him of inciting violence against the network.

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The video's creator apologized on Tuesday.

"The meme was created purely as a satire, it was not meant to be a call to violence against CNN or any other news affiliation," he wrote adding, "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."

CNN in a statement to BuzzFeed said it decided not to publish the Reddit user’s name out of concern for his safety.

“Any assertion that the network blackmailed or coerced him is false,” it said.

“The user, who is an adult male, not a 15-year-old boy, apologized and deleted his account before ever speaking with our reporter. CNN never made any deal, of any kind, with the user,” it added. “In fact, CNN included its decision to withhold the user’s identity in an effort to be completely transparent that there was no deal.”

- This report was updated at 12:11 p.m.