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‘Man who raises $1 million for charity cancelled for old tweets’
Welcome to 2019.
You may have heard the story about Carson King, the 24-year-old Iowa State fan who, after his homemade sign asking for beer money appeared on ESPN’s College Gameday, wound up raising a million dollars for charity. Great story, right?
Well, we can’t have great stories in 2019, and thanks to the good folks at the Des Moines Register, they’ve helped throw cold water on even this one.
After what the Register deemed a “routine” social media background check while working on a feature on King, the reporter (Aaron Calvin) uncovered “two racist jokes” on social media. And by “routine” they mean going back seven years in King’s Twitter feed to dig up something he wrote as a 16-year-old.
The Des Moines Register, in its explanation as to why it reported on the seven-year-old tweets, reasoned, “Shouldn’t [the tweets] be acknowledged to all the people who had donated money to King’s cause or were planning to do so?”
Well, keep this in mind: When the donations started rolling into King’s Venmo account (which appeared on the sign), no one knew how much money he had raised. It initially got up to around $6,000, and he could have kept it all – no questions asked, no Des Moines Register profile, nothing. But he didn’t keep it. Instead, he decided to keep enough to buy a single case of beer and donate the rest to the University of Iowa's Stead Family Children's Hospital.
Yet, in looking out for the generous folks donating money to King’s cause, the Register deemed it necessary to inform readers about the “murky” past of a guy who’s broke enough that he needs to ask for beer money via a cardboard sign yet decides, voluntarily, to donate $5,975 of $6,000 raised … a guy who eventually wound up turning a joke into $1 million for a children’s hospital.
That’s some public service.
Thanks to the “routine” check, King’s reputation has been tarnished, Anheuser-Busch has publicly severed ties with him and, oh yeah, let this be a warning to those of you out there considering charitable endeavors: do so at your own peril.
It's unclear exactly why digging seven years into the past of someone who's not under any sort of critical investigation is warranted. But hey, if that's the game then ...
Turns out Calvin, the Register reporter, has some skeletons of his own in his Twitter closet. Courtesy of what can only be assumed was a “routine” social media background check, the Washington Post uncovered old Calvin tweets that “used a racist slur for black people, made light of abusing women, used the word ‘gay’ as a pejorative, and mocked the legalization of same-sex marriage.”
Yep, welcome to 2019. Can we please go back?
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