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Anheuser-Busch cuts ties with viral beer sign guy as newspaper is slammed for publishing tweets when he was a teenager


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DES MOINES, Iowa — Anheuser-Busch has cut ties with Carson King, an Iowa State fan who has raised over $1 million for the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital, over offensive social media posts.

“Eight years ago, when I was a sophomore in high school, I made some social media posts with my friends that quoted and referenced the show ‘Tosh.0,’ King said. “One of those posts was brought to my attention by a member of the media.”

King said a reporter with The Des Moines Register informed him of an offensive social media post he made when he was 16 years old. In a statement to KCCI, he said, “The Des Moines Register has been nothing but kind in all of their coverage, and I appreciate the reporter pointing out the post to me. I want everyone to understand that this was my decision to publicly address the posts and apologize. I believe that is the right thing to do.”

The content of the offensive posts have not been released, but the Des Moines Register reports that the posts compared black mothers to gorillas and make light of black people killed in the Holocaust.

On September 13, King created a sign reading “Busch Light supply need replenished. Venmo Carson-King-25” for “ESPN College GameDay” at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames. The sign generated national attention, inspiring donors from across the country to contribute to King’s Venmo account.

When King announced he would donate the money to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital, Anheuser-Busch and Venmo offered to match his donation.

In a statement Tuesday, Anheuser-Busch said, “Carson King had multiple social media posts that do not align with our values as a brand or as a company and we will have no further association with him. We are honoring our commitment by donating more than $350,000 to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.”

The Des Moines Register has received backlash after publishing the story – especially since the staff member who unearthed the tweets is now being investigated for questionable social media behavior.

Late Tuesday night, The Register publisher explained their editorial decision.

Facebook and Twitter users were quick to point out and respond with several examples of posts from a Des Moines Register reporter that were also offensive.

In response, the Register replied, “The Register is aware of reports of inappropriate social media posts by one of our staffers, and an investigation has begun.”

The Register did not name that reporter, but the author of the article on King, Aaron Calvin, has since protected his professional Twitter account.

Prior to protecting his account, he posted an apology tweet.

The Facebook page of the Register has lost more than 11,000 followers since Tuesday, a decline of nearly 8 percent. Thousands of angry comments were left on the page.

Venmo officials sent the following response to KCCI:

“Venmo’s decision to match the money raised for the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital was inspired by the kindness of the entire Venmo community and their desire to support a worthy cause. Our intent has never changed, and we continue to honor our pledge to support the patients, families and staff members of the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics.”