No act of grand charity or kindness can apparently absolve you of the sin of saying something online that you shouldn’t have. Case in point, a man named Carson King is now underneath the public’s proverbial guillotine for a tweet he made at 16 despite the fact that he raised over $1 million for a children’s hospital.
According to WHO-TV, King raised over $1 million for the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital thanks to a clever sign held up during a College GameDay segment that read: “Busch Light supply needs replenished. Venmo Carson-King-25.”
The sign went viral and, to King’s surprise, the donations began rolling in from all over the country. He quickly decided to turn the cash from beer money to charity money and hand it over to the children’s hospital. Busch also decided that it would match whatever amount King accumulated. Soon, he had over $1 million.
That should have been the end to a happy story, but in today’s society, no good deed goes unpunished by thirsty reporters. For some undiscernable reason, a reporter from The Des Moines Register began searching through his social media history and found a tweet he had sent back in 2011 when he was 16 years old.
Next thing King knew, he was being told by the Des Moines Register staff that they were considering including these tweets in the piece that was to cover his charitable giving. Your guess as to why they felt the need to even consider doing that is as good as mine.
King decided to preempt the piece and release this information on his own terms, giving a press conference and a public letter stating what his tweet revolved around and how he was terribly sorry for it.
The apology read as such:
It was just 10 days ago that I was a guy in the crowd holding a sign looking for beer money on ESPN Game Day.
Since then – so much has happened. Especially when I announced all of the money would be donated to the Stead Family Children’s Hospital in Iowa City.
Thousands of people have donated and today the account is at 1.14 million dollars. Much of this has happened thanks to social media – it has the power to bring people together for a common good.
It also can make your life very public.
And that is why I wanted to share with you that eight years ago – when I was a sophomore in high school, I made some social media posts with my friends that quoted and referenced the show Tosh.0.
One of those posts was brought to my attention by a member of the media today. I had no recollection of it. In re-reading it today – eight years later – I see it was an attempt at humor that was offensive and hurtful.
I am so embarrassed and stunned to reflect on what I thought was funny when I was 16 years old. I want to sincerely apologize.
Thankfully, high school kids grow up and hopefully become responsible and caring adults. I think my feelings are better summed up by a post from just 3 years ago:
“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.” — July 8, 2016
I am sharing this information tonight because I feel a responsibility to all of the people who have donated money.
I cannot go back and change what I posted when I was a 16-year-old. I can apologize and work to improve every day and make a meaningful difference in people’s lives.
And, I am so very thankful for the generosity of the thousands of people who have donated to our fundraising push for the Stead Family Children’s Hospital.
— Carson King (@CarsonKing2) September 25, 2019
The Des Moines Register also released a statement from editor Carol Hunter, which noted their deliberation about whether or not they should even talk about it in the story, and eventually decided they would. Seemingly sensing that this would be seen as a gross move, they decided to include a quote from King himself talking about how the Register had been “nothing but kind in all their coverage.”
A statement from our editor: pic.twitter.com/ZH9AhcrYbg
— Des Moines Register (@DMRegister) September 25, 2019
The coverage was apparently kind enough that King felt it better to release the information on his own before the Register did.
An Anheuser-Busch spokesperson later said that, while they still plan to honor the promise made with King, they’re cutting all ties with him due to his previous tweets.
“Carson King had multiple social media posts that do not align with our values as a brand or as a company and we will have no further association with him. We are honoring our commitment by donating more than $350,000 to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics,” said the statement.
So, to recap, a man did something funny that went viral and he used that viral attention to raise money to help sick children. In turn, the media delved into his social media history and found tweets from when he was 16-years-old, a whopping eight years ago. They deliberated on whether they should release the information about these tweets, and for some reason decided that it would be best if they did. King, feeling the need to get out ahead of the media, released the information himself, but causing his name to be besmirched in the process anyway, causing his charitable benefactors to publicly sever ties with him.
This is a disgusting example of how the media goes too far. The Register should feel ashamed of itself for feeling the need to even broach the subject of tweets sent years ago when the subject they were supposed to cover was a child. It wasn’t part of the story, but now the story is the tweets, not the charity.