Des Moines Register terminates journalist behind Carson King scandal after intense public backlash

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The Des Moines Register has fired the journalist behind a controversial report on Carson King, the sports fan who raised over $1.7 million for charity with a plea for beer money, after offensive tweets by the reporter surfaced.

Editor Carol Hunter wrote about the paper’s decision in a lengthy post on Thursday night, stating that the reporter, Aaron Calvin, “is no longer with the Register.”

King went viral earlier this month after he displayed a sign on ESPN’s ‘College Game Day’ requesting Venmo donations to re-stock his “Busch Light Supply,” and ultimately racked up nearly $2 million in contributions. Not content to keep the money for himself, King offered to donate the funds to a local children’s hospital, which was soon matched by beer maker Anheuser-Busch. But King’s new-found fame would soon veer toward infamy.

In penning a profile on King for the Register, Calvin dug up racist internet posts that the sports fan had made as a teenager, but many readers reacted with anger, demanding to know why the Register transformed a story about charitable giving into another racism witch hunt.

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Carson King holding the sign that kickstarted his donation campaign © Facebook / Carson King
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Though King said he regrets the racist posts and noted that the Register had been “nothing but kind” while covering his story, many readers persisted in their complaints to the newspaper.

Launching its own probe into the matter following the public reaction, the Register eventually found that the reporter in question had his own history with inappropriate tweets. Calvin soon deleted the posts and apologized for not holding himself “to the same high standards as the Register holds others,” but that apparently did not prevent the termination of his employment.

“Employees of the Register are vetted through typical employment screening methods, which can include a review of past social media activity, but the screening processes did not surface those tweets,” Hunter wrote in Thursday’s post.

Some readers were not satisfied with the decision, however, observing that the Register offered no apology in its long explanatory post, with one user accusing the paper of throwing its reporter “under the bus” while failing to hold editors accountable.

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Author: HEDGE

Executive Editor and Founder of HEDGEaccordingly.com. Hedge Was Founded in January 22, 2008. Learn more about HEDGEaccordingly