Fired Des Moines Register reporter speaks with BuzzFeed about Carson King backlash

A former Des Moines Register reporter, at the center of the Carson King Twitter controversy, broke his silence on Friday telling BuzzFeed he felt “abandoned” by his former newspaper. He’s also expressing regret for the backlash experienced by King and himself.

“This event basically set my entire life on fire,” Aaron Calvin told BuzzFeed.

The controversy started in the days following King’s fundraising effort started at the CyHawk game on September 14 in Ames.

King held up a handwritten sign during ESPN’s College GameDay broadcast asking for beer money donations to his Venmo account. After the money started pouring in, King announced he planned to give the money to University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.

Venmo and Anhesuer-Busch both pledged to match whatever donations King received and, as of Friday night, he’s raised over $2 million for the hospital. What initially started as a feel-good story received extensive media attention throughout the state of Iowa and beyond.

Calvin, who worked for BuzzFeed in 2013 and 2014, had already written about King’s charity campaign, told BuzzFeed it’s standard practice at the Des Moines Register to background check the people they profile by looking through available court records and social media.

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