Aaron Calvin is a journalist who recently wrote a piece that exposed viral sensation and Iowa State University football fan Carson King for old racist tweets after King raised over $1 million for charity.
King went viral after he was seen on ESPN’s College Gameday holding a sign that read “BUSCH LIGHT SUPPLY NEEDS REPLINISHED” along with his Venmo name.
His plan worked better than he could have ever imagined. Within 30 minutes his Venmo account reached $400. Realizing that he might raise much more money than he intended, he said he would donate the money to University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.
Once word got out that he was donating the money to charity, the donations started pouring in. By Sunday morning, King had raised over $1 million for the charity. He said he would subtract the cost of one case of Busch beer and donate the rest to charity.
Upon hearing this, Busch Beer got involved and said they would donate a year worth of beer to King. Not only that, but they put his face on the side of the cans. “Hey @CarsonKing2, we said we’d send you a year’s worth of Busch Light, but first we had to make sure the cans were fit for a King.” the Busch Beer account tweeted, “Let us know where to send the truck. #IowaLegend.”
King’s momentum came to a screeching halt when Des Moines Register reporter Aaron Calvin found some offensive tweets King posted when he was 16. The tweets reportedly compared black mothers to gorillas and made light of the Holocaust. According to King, he and his friends were quoting the TV show “Tosh.0.”
In a statement posted to his Twitter, King said he was “embarrassed” and “stunned” on what he said said 8 years ago.
“Thankfully, high school kids grow up and hopefully become responsible and caring adults,” King wrote. “I think my feelings are better summed up by a post from just 3 years ago: Until we as a people learn that racism and hate are learned behaviors, we won’t get rid of it. Tolerance towards others is the first step.”
Busch Beer pulled their offer of free beer for a year following the incident.
According to his LinkedIn, Aaron Calvin has been a journalist and reporter for the past 5 years since graduating from Hofstra University in 2013.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Aaron Calvin Has Tweeted the N-Word in the Past & Also Once Said: ‘Never Talk to Strange Gay Men’
Some Twitter users were angry with Calvin for digging into King’s past and raining on the donation parade. So much so that they started investigating his old tweets. What they found was just as if not more offensive than anything King had said.
“too many of these n*****s bitch made nowadays, don’t pardon my french” read one tweet. He also said the word again quoting a Kanye West song. “They’d rather give me the ‘n**** please award’. I’ll just take the ‘I got a lot of cheese award’ Tell it like it is Kanye.”
He also tweeted “I just got hit on by Tori Amos’ makeup guy. Never talk to strange gay men.” and “F*** the NYPD” in response to a tweet about rapper Desiigner being arrested.
2. The Des Moines Register Is Investigating his Tweets
After facing a significant backlash on social media, the Des Moines Register tweeted a lengthy statement that described their decision-making process in publishing the tweets from Carson King.
The statement says that Aaron Calvin was “assigned to interview King for a profile” and during a routine background check discovered the “two racist jokes” King had posted on Twitter in 2012. Calvin contacted King who “expressed deep regret”.
The editors said they debated whether or not to add the information due to King expressing remorse and the incident occurring when he was a teenager. They eventually decided to publish the information but at “as a few paragraphs towards the bottom of the article”
The tweet was littered with screenshots of Calvin’s prior offensive tweets.
The Register later replied to their own tweet and said were “aware of reports of inappropriate social media posts by one of our staffers, and an investigation has begun.”
After his old tweets were discovered, there were plenty of Twitter users, including men’s rights activist Mike Cernovich, who roundly criticized Calvin’s tweets:
Thousands of tweets flooded in as users discovered more and more troubling content. Calvin eventually switched his account to private.
Before making it private, he tweeted, “Hey just wanted to say that I have deleted previous tweets that have been inappropriate or insensitive. I apologize for not holding myself to the same high standards as the Register holds others.”
The Huffington Post’s Yashar Ali said that Calvin’s decision to make his Twitter account private was “cowardly.”
Reporter Stephen Miller had a different take on the whole ordeal.
Calvin also set his Instagram account to private but not his Facebook page. The old posts on his Facebook page are now littered with comments from people criticizing him and posting screenshots of his old tweets.
3. Calvin Is an Iowa Native & Graduate of Hofstra University in New York
Aaron Calvin was born and raised in Waukee, Iowa, according to his Facebook profile. He attended Hofstra University in New York, after graduating From Waukee High School in 2010. He completed his degree in English literature and creative writing at Hofstra, located on Long Island, in 2013.
Calvin worked as the entertainment editor for Hofstra’s student newspaper, the Hofstra Chronicle from 2011 to 2013.
Along with his career in journalism, Calvin worked briefly as an account coordinator at Small Girls PR in New York and as a content manager at The Integer Group in Des Moines, as well as a senior content manager at MXM, now Accenture Interactive.
4. Aaron Calvin’s Work Has Been Published by Buzzfeed & Vice
According to his portfolio, Calvin started his career as a Staff Writer/ Social Media Coordinator for Buzzfeed. His portfolio for them includes articles such as “This Comic Perfectly Explains What White Privilege Is” and “Which “Friday Night Lights” Character Are You?”
Calvin also spent time from 2014 to 2017 working as a content strategist for Storyful in New York City. He wrote on Linkedin that he would, “Facilitate identification, verification, and licensing of video content,” ” Provide daily intelligence newsletters to clients, often identifying trends and cultural moments,” and “Support multimedia, multi-platform social media and digital marketing efforts.”
5. Calvin Started at the Des Moines Register in February 2019
Depending on the result of The Des Moines Register’s investigation into Calvin, his tenure at the paper may be a short one. According to his LinkedIn profile, he became a “trending reporter” for the paper in February 2019, less than 7 months ago.
In his time as a reporter, he’s covered a variety of subjects including breaking news, food, sports, and crime. He was previously a digital producer at the newspaper from November 2018 until February 2019 when he took on the reporting role.
He wrote on Linkedin, “With 5 years experience in editorial writing, content direction, and digital marketing, I have experience working with national publishers and international brands. I have a wide skill set in writing and editing as well as content strategy and management.”
Along with BuzzFeed and Vice, Calvin previously worked at a freelance journalist and book reviewer for several outlets, with his work being published on AskMen.com, Electric Literature, Everyday eBooks and Men’s Journal, according to his Linkedin profile.
On Twitter, Calvin writes in his bio that he is a “Writer. Midwesterner. Olive enthusiast. ?Timberwolves/Lynx” fan.