DES MOINES, Iowa -- Carson King, who has helped raise over $1 million for the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital, has apologized after a controversial tweet of his from 2011 was discovered.
King said a reporter for the Des Moines Register first called attention to the tweet, which referenced a racially-charged segment on the television show Tosh.0.
King, who was 16 years old at the time, called the tweet "hurtful and embarrassing." He said he doesn't want it to take away from all the good the donations can do for the kids at the children's hospital.
King held a press conference Tuesday night to address the tweet. In a statement, he said:
It was just 10 days ago that I was a guy in the crowd holding a sign looking for beer money on ESPN Game Day.
Since then – so much has happened. Especially when I announced all of the money would be donated to the Stead Family Children’s Hospital in Iowa City.
Thousands of people have donated and today the account is at 1.14 million dollars. Much of this has happened thanks to social media – it has the power to bring people together for a common good.
It also can make your life very public.
And that is why I wanted to share with you that eight years ago – when I was a sophomore in high school, I made some social media posts with my friends that quoted and referenced the show Tosh.0.
One of those posts was brought to my attention by a member of the media today. I had no recollection of it. In re-reading it today – eight years later – I see it was an attempt at humor that was offensive and hurtful.
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.
Thankfully, high school kids grow up and hopefully become responsible and caring adults. 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." -- July 8, 2016
I am sharing this information tonight because I feel a responsibility to all of the people who have donated money.
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.
And, I am so very thankful for the generosity of the thousands of people who have donated to our fundraising push for the Stead Family Children’s Hospital.
King released an additional statement addressing the role the Des Moines Register had in discovering the tweet. The statement said:
"The Des Moines Register has been nothing but kind in all of their coverage, and I appreciate the reporter pointing out the post to me. I want everyone to understand that this was my decision to publicly address the posts and apologize. I believe that is the right thing to do."
King has risen to fame over the past 10 days after he was featured on ESPN College GameDay in Ames asking for beer money donations. His GameDay sign went viral and he decided to donate all the funds to the children's hospital in Iowa City. He has helped raise over $1.14 million in donations.
King has been in touch with both Busch Beer and Venmo since word of the tweet surfaced. He said they still plan to match funds for the kids at the children's hospital.
An Anheuser-Busch spokesperson confirmed the company is still honoring its full commitment to the hospital, but it will cut ties with King. The spokesperson said in a statement:
“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. We are honoring our commitment by donating more than $350,000 to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.”
King still plans to be at Kinnick Stadium Saturday for "The Wave."