CNN has become the recipient of white supremacist troll ire — all for investigating the origins of the GIF President Donald Trump tweeted attacking them last weekend.
After CNN tracked down the identity of the Reddit user who created the GIF of Trump bodyslamming Vince McMahon with their logo superimposed on his face, members of various right-wing Internet communities came together in what the Southern Poverty Law Center called a “rare moment of unity for the far-right.”
Initially, it was believed that the GIF’s creator, Reddit user “HanAssholeSolo,” was a queer 15-year-old Trump supporter based on a tweet by alt-right darling Jack Posobiec, but was later revealed to be an adult man whose sexuality remains undisclosed.
Nonetheless, troll hacker Andrew Auernheimer (who goes by the pseudonym “weev”) rallied the Daily Stormer’s “troll army” in attacks against CNN based on the false assertion that HanAssholeSolo was underage.
Although CNN has not published HanAssholeSolo’s identity after he published an apology and issued a promise to stop his trolling, Auernheimer led multiple far-right factions, including r/TheDonald, 4chan, the Daily Stormer and the “alt-lite,” in their own doxxing campaign.
“Just like CNN tracked down this child and used media exposure as a bludgeon against him for posting (truthful and funny) things that they don’t like, we are going to begin tracking down their families as a bludgeon against them for publishing (seditiously fraudulent) things that we don’t like,” Auernheimer wrote. “CNN, this is your one singular chance to walk back this behavior of public blackmail. You have one week to fix this.”
As published on 4chan, Aurnheimer’s demands of CNN include “the public firing of the KFile team, a denouncement of their alleged threats, a $50,000 college scholarship for HanAssholeSolo, and a public assurance that ‘he and his family will never be harmed by your organization.'”
“We are going to track down your parents. We are going to track down your siblings. We are going to track down your spouses. We are going to track down your children. Because hey, that’s what you guys get to do, right? We’re going to see how you like it when our reporters are hunting down your children,” Auernheimer wrote in his demands.
The well-organized attack on CNN, published on 4chan’s politics board, has been named “Operation:Autism Storm.” The sophisticated attack plan “includes banding together with other far right sites, going after CNN’s advertisers, discrediting everyone at CNN and forming a legal strategy for HanAssholeSolo should he later be doxed.”
By Tuesday evening, the SPLC reports, contact information for multiple CNN reporters began appearing on 4chan.