Busch Light cuts ties with Iowa Children’s Hospital fundraiser following discovery of old tweets


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Columnist John Rochford argues that the Des Moines Register’s follow-up article to Carson King’s profile lacks good reasoning for why the editorial staff decided to include King’s old tweets. Rochford believes the tweets were really intended to create controversy rather than help create an honest profile of King.

Jake Webster

This story will be continuously updated as more information is released.

Story last updated at 3:56 p.m. on Sept. 25.

Gov. Kim Reynolds met with King on Wednesday, and signed a proclamation declaring Saturday “Carson King Day” in Iowa, thanking King for his “contributions to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital, Iowa children, and their families.”

Following the discovery of since-deleted misogynistic and racist tweets on the account of the reporter for The Des Moines Register who wrote the profile on King, Aaron Calvin, who has since set their Twitter to private, the Register said in a tweet it is “aware of reports of inappropriate social media posts by one of our staffers, and an investigation has begun.”

Carol Hunter, The Des Moines Register’s executive editor, tweeted a statement there was a discussion about publishing information about King’s tweets between several Register editors about how best to proceed.

“Should that material be included in the profile at all? The jokes were highly inappropriate and were public posts,” Hunter said. “Shouldn’t that be acknowledged to all the people who had donated money to King’s cause or were planning to do so? Eventually, Register editors decided we would include the information, but at the bottom of the story.”

According to Hunter’s statement, King “preempted” the information by scheduling a “news conference to discuss his tweets and express his remorse.”

Since the information became public knowledge, donations to King’s Venmo have reportedly increased.

WHOtv sports director Keith Murphy said in a tweet “[Carson King’s] Venmo is experiencing a big spike in fundraising.”

Original Story

Carson King gained fame overnight for the sign he held up visibly during ESPN’s “College GameDay” Sept. 14 at the Cy-Hawk game.

The Des Moines Register reports a discovery of two racist jokes on King’s Twitter dating back to 2012 when King was a 16-year-old high school student.

The tweets reportedly compared black mothers to gorillas and made light of the Holocaust.

In a statement posted to his Twitter, King said he was “embarrassed” and “stunned” to reflect on what he thought was funny at 16.

“Thankfully, high school kids grow up and hopefully become responsible and caring adults,” King said. “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.”

King’s sign said “Busch Light Supply Needs Replenished ~Venmo~ Carson-King-25.” King raised $20,000 initially, receiving more than $1 million in pledged matching donations after he declared he would donate the funds to the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital.

Busch Light said in a tweet they would send King a “year’s worth of Busch Light, but first we had to make sure the cans were for a King. Let us know where to send the truck.”

However, the tweet has since been deleted and Anheuser-Busch InBev, Busch Light’s parent company, said in a statement they are ending their association with King, but they will still donate their matching funds to the hospital.

Around 8 p.m. Tuesday a petition was created on Change.org calling on the Des Moines Register to issue a “front page apology to Carson King.” The petition had been signed by more than 26,000 people as of 10:40 p.m. Tuesday.