Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said on Wednesday that CNN could potentially be charged with extortion for publishing an article in which it said it reserved the right to reveal the identity of a Reddit user who recently apologized for his role in creating racist memes.
Responding to the controversy surrounding the CNN story -- in which the racist user vowed to stop creating racist memes and CNN said that it reserved "the right to publish his identity should any of that change" -- Cruz said it was possible that CNN violated Georgia state laws against "theft by extortion."
"If CNN constructively obtained the gif-maker's [intellectual property], it's a [Georgia] crime if they threatened to 'disseminate any information tending to subject any person to hatred, contempt, or ridicule,'" Cruz wrote.
(1/2) Troubling. I assume CNN's lawyers are examining GA § 16-8-16 Theft by extortion. If CNN constructively obtain… https://t.co/AvQV6O2e84— Ted Cruz (@Ted Cruz)1499269036.0
(2/2) it's a GA crime if they threatened to "Disseminate any information tending to subject any person to hatred, c… https://t.co/eWdmqNORxy— Ted Cruz (@Ted Cruz)1499269207.0
Donald Trump Jr. also slammed CNN on Wednesday, and said that CNN threatened the user "at gunpoint" to say he didn't feel as though he was being threatened by the network.
At Gunpoint 👌 Give me a break #CNNBlackmail https://t.co/Y0bfwtBm3z— Donald Trump Jr. (@Donald Trump Jr.)1499264271.0
For its part, CNN says that it never intended to send any kind of threatening signal to the Reddit user, whose video of President Donald Trump clothes-lining a CNN logo went viral after the president tweeted it.
"CNN decided not to publish the name of the Reddit user out of concern for his safety," CNN said in a statement issued Wednesday. "Any statement made that the network blackmailed or coerced him is false."
CNN statement on the HanAssholeSolo story https://t.co/mf2tilu9UB— Steven Perlberg (@Steven Perlberg)1499270158.0