Des Moines Register gets death threats after profile of 'viral beer guy'

Des Moines Register gets death threats after profile of 'viral beer guy'
© CNN

The Des Moines Register has received threats after it published a profile on a 24-year-old resident who won fame for raising more than $1 million for a children's hospital. 

The profile referenced racist tweets the man made as a teenager, though it did not repeat them.

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"We are certainly aware of some of the threats they've had. They made a report to the police department so that goes on our radar as a place we are going to want to give a little extra attention to,” Des Moines Police Sergeant Paul Parizek said to NBC-affiliate KWWL.

The racist tweets from Carson King had already been reported by local television networks before the Register published its story, as King had been asked about them by the Des Moines Register reporter while researching his piece. 

King apologized for the two tweets, which were sent when he was 16, and held a new conference about the incident.

King had drawn national headlines after holding up a sign at a college football game during ESPN's "College Game Day" asking people to donate money to him so he could purchase a "supply" of Busch Light.

The sign went viral on social media, leading to more than $1.1 million in donations. King decided early in the process that instead of keeping the money, he would donate it to the University of Iowa's Stead Children's Hospital.

Busch Light, which is owned by beer giant Anheuser-Busch InBev, and electronic cash-transfer provider Venmo, also mentions on the sign, pledged to match King's fundraising efforts. 

"I am embarrassed and stunned to reflect on what I thought was funny when I was 16 years old," King said Tuesday of the tweets.

"I had no recollection of it," King also tweeted. "In re-reading it today — eight years later — I see it was an attempt at humor that was offensive and hurtful. I am embarrassed and stunned to reflect on what I thought was funny when I was a 16-year-old kid, and I want to sincerely apologize."

Anheuser-Busch InBev announced on Wednesday that it had decided to cut ties with King while still honoring its pledge to Stead Children's Hospital.

The Des Moines Register, which said it found the tweets through a "routine background check" on King's social media posts, has been criticized by supporters of King online. 

 

 

 

The Register published an explanation of its decision to include the information on the tweets at the end of its story, saying it was a difficult decision but noting the information was in the public realm when the story was published. 

In another twist, the Des Moines Register reporter, Aaron Calvin, who wrote the piece, then had racist tweets of his own highlighted online.

 

 

Calvin has since closed his account and apologized. The paper says it is conducting an investigation in Calvin's tweets.