Last September, the drama that unfolded surrounding a simple act of charity thanks to the unreasonable presence of “cancel culture” made headlines, and now, the reporter that stood in the middle of the controversy is speaking out and blaming everyone but himself.
The drama centers around former Des Moines Register writer Aaron Calvin, who was tasked to write a piece about 24-year-old Carson King. King had recently become famous thanks to his clever way of requesting beer money on television. As cash started rolling in, King realized he had way more money than he needed. Over a million more dollars than he needed, in fact.
King decided to give it to charity, prompting more donations and Anheuser-Busch even offered to match his donation. The Des Moines Register decided to write about King, but delved into his social media history where he — horror of horrors — was found quoting a non-politically correct comedian.
The Register’s editors told Calvin to include the old tweets in his article despite being nearly a decade old, and for reasons I still can’t fathom. Hearing that the Register was going to assassinate his character, King got out ahead of them and held a press event himself where he tattled on himself first.
What followed was a series of unfortunate events, not for King, but for the Register. The Register was labeled by the general public as the villain in the story, and what’s more, Calvin was found to have some nasty tweets himself from his past. He was promptly fired, and the Register issued a statement that amounted to a weak justification for their super-sleuthing.
The Register was recognized as a joke and King went on to folk hero status, even getting his own day by Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds. All’s well that ends well.
Except for Calvin.
According to Fox News, Calvin considers himself a victim within the entire situation. He wrote that his publishing of King’s tweets wasn’t meant to bring King down, but show his growth since his youth.
No one in their right mind would ever believe that exposing tweets like that would make people appreciate a person more, especially in this day and age when the mob is looking for any excuse to break out the ol’ hangin’ rope. King, knowing exactly what was going to happen, got out ahead of it and painted his own picture before letting the media do it.
Calvin said King getting to it before Calvin could, made Calvin look like the bad guy and turned the public against him.
“I don’t believe that King set out to implicate me, but because he preempted my forthcoming profile, people believed that I intended to impugn his character,” Calvin said. “Immediately after he released his statement, angry messages began to come in to the Register’s Facebook page. The messages demanded that the identity of the journalist who had found King’s tweets be revealed, and threatened the reporter’s life and the lives of Register staff.”
“There was never any attempt to ‘cancel’ Carson King. In fact, his status as a folk hero has only grown,” he later added. “Meanwhile, I lost my job—work that I was good at and proud of… I believe I lost my job unfairly. At the same time, I firmly believe that people, especially those in power, should be held accountable for what they say and do.”
While I hold that Calvin shouldn’t have gotten fired for his old tweets just as King shouldn’t be condemned for his, I can’t feel too much sympathy for Calvin. I don’t believe for one second that he didn’t know what he was doing. I don’t buy that he was publishing the tweets to show how much King had grown.
Calvin works in the same profession I do, and there’s no way he hasn’t seen what the mob does to people who run afoul of their code of conduct, whether it was recent or far in the distant past. If what Calvin is saying is true, and he never meant any harm to King, then he’s either not very bright or he has way too much faith in a mythical fairmindedness of the mob.
Calvin once said he doesn’t believe cancel culture is real, but it clearly is. He just got canceled himself and he joins the myriad of people who have unfairly lost a piece of their lives because of an outrage that shouldn’t be.
The fact is, cancel culture is part of a bigger social justice monster that people feed hoping it will eat them last. Rest assured, no matter how friendly you think you are with it, eventually, it will eat you too.
The best thing you can do is not feed it at all. Calvin handed it a morsel and got his hand bit clean off.
Let Calvin be a lesson.