Texas Senator Ted Cruz (R) has stated that CNN could be held guilty of extortion for threatening the man who made a parody video of President Trump slamming the news network to the ground and beating it up.
CNN allegedly threatened the creator of the video, who happens to be a redditor, to expose his identity.
However, Senator Cruz believes that this action could lead CNN to be charged with extortion and blackmail. Senator Cruz previously taught Supreme Court litigation at the University of Texas School of Law where he was an adjunct professor.
“Troubling. I assume CNN’s lawyers are examining GA § 16-8-16 Theft by extortion,” Cruz wrote. “If CNN constructively obtained the gif-maker’s IP it’s a GA crime if they threatened to ‘Disseminate any information tending to subject any person to hatred, contempt, or ridicule.'”
CNN is facing intense criticism after it managed to track down the creator of the video that showed Trump putting a wrestler to ground and beating him up; the wrestler’s head was superimposed with CNN.
In an online article, the cable news network seemed to make a subtle suggestion that it would publicise the person’s identity if he was caught engaging in “ugly behavior” online again.
“He is a private citizen who has issued an extensive statement of apology, showed his remorse by saying he has taken down all his offending posts and because he said he is not going to repeat this ugly behavior on social media again,” the story, titled “How CNN found the Reddit user behind the Trump wrestling GIF,” reads on CNN.com
“CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change,” it adds.
The story came back to hit CNN right in the face. Monday saw #CNNBlackmail trend on twitter almost all day.
In a statement given to BuzzFeed, CNN said it had decided against revealing the Redditor’s name out of concern for his well-being and safety.
“Any assertion that the network blackmailed or coerced him is false,” it said.
“The user, who is an adult male, not a 15-year-old boy, apologized and deleted his account before ever speaking with our reporter. CNN never made any deal, of any kind, with the user,” it added.
“In fact, CNN included its decision to withhold the user’s identity in an effort to be completely transparent that there was no deal,” CNN’s statement read.