A man who went on national TV in search of beer money and ended up raising more than $1 million for a children’s hospital has apologized for at least one offensive tweet he posted eight years ago.
Carson King, 24, first landed in the public spotlight when he held up a sign that read “Busch Light supply needs replenishing” behind the ESPN “College GameDay” set during the Sept. 14 broadcast from Ames, Iowa. His Venmo account was flooded with donations, so much so that King decided a better use for the money would be to donate it to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.
With several businesses, including Anheuser-Busch, deciding to chip in, King has raised more than $1.14 million in donations.
But on Tuesday, the beer makers found themselves cutting ties with King, while still fulfilling their pledge to the hospital, after the surfacing of controversial tweets from his high school years.
“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,” an Anheuser-Busch spokesperson said in a statement. “We are honoring our commitment by donating more than $350,000 to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.”
According to the Des Moines Register, reporter Aaron Calvin was preparing to do a feature on King when he discovered “two racist jokes” on King’s Twitter feed from 2012. The tweets appear to have been deleted.
King held a news conference Tuesday night in Des Moines and addressed a “hurtful and embarrassing” tweet he said he made when he was a high school sophomore. He said he didn’t remember the post until a member of the media brought it to his attention.
“In re-reading it today, eight years later, I see it was an attempt at humor that was offensive and hurtful,” said King, who added that his tweet was a quote from the Comedy Central show “Tosh.o.” “I am so embarrassed and stunned to reflect on what I thought was funny when I was 16 years old. I want to sincerely apologize.”
He added: “I cannot go back and change what I posted when I was a 16-year-old. I can apologize and work to improve every day and make a meaningful difference in people’s lives.”