JACKSON, Miss. – ESPN broadcaster Keith Olbermann, who started a social media firestorm when he attacked a Mississippi turkey hunter for killing a rare white gobbler, tweeted an apology to the young man Wednesday night.
“I am an opponent of trophy hunting and remain so, but nobody should feel threatened. This was anything but my intent, so I unreservedly apologize to Mr. Waltman for this tweet,” Olbermann wrote.
The tweet Olbermann, a former MSNBC political commentator, originally sent was taken down by Twitter. The tweet attacked 22-year-old Hunter Waltman of Kiln, as well as Clarion Ledger outdoors writer Brian Broom. Broom was not mentioned in Olbermann’s apology.
Olbermann’s original Tuesday tweet said:
“It be rare and beautiful so me should kill it. This pea-brained scumbag identifies himself as Hunter Waltman and we should do our best to make sure the rest of his life is a living hell. And the nitwit clown who wrote this fawning piece should be fired.”
Olbermann wrote the tweet in reaction to a story Broom wrote Monday about Waltman bagging a rare white turkey.
Waltman told Broom Wednesday he had received verbal attacks as a result of Olbermann’s tweet. While no one directly threatened him, some said they hope harm comes his way.
“To tell you the truth, it seemed like a threat to me,” Waltman said. “Make (my) life ‘a living hell?’ That seems like a threat to me. I’d be glad to see him fired. He went overboard.”
Clarion Ledger Executive Editor Sam R. Hall on Wednesday tweeted, “Keith Olbermann‘s tweet was recklessly irresponsible. Someone with his following needs to understand the possible impact of his words.
“Telling over 1 million people to make someone’s life a living hell could have seriously dangerous consequences. In our newsroom, that would be a fireable offense, not writing a story about a hunter bagging a turkey.”
Although Olbermann had his supporters on social media praising the broadcaster, the majority of the reactions were negative. Many on Twitter asked ESPN if Olbermann’s actions violated their company policy while others said he should be fired from the sports media corporation.
Follow Steven Ward on Twitter: @wardreporter
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