Left-wing commentator Keith Olbermann encouraged his more than 1 million Twitter followers to make a Mississippi man's life " a living hell" over a story about him bagging a rare turkey — and wouldn't you know the man said he fell victim to verbal attacks following the pundit's suggestion.
Olbermann apologized on Wednesday, but with some wishing harm to come upon 22-year-old Hunter Waltman, the damage has been done.
What's the background?
Brian Broom wrote a story for the Mississippi Clarion Ledger about Waltman hunting down a rare white turkey. An official with the state's wildlife department told the paper the turkey was "exceptionally rare" — on the level of "one out of several hundred thousand."
'I was shaking I was so nervous.' Mississippi hunter harvests bizarre white turkey https://t.co/LJNY58PLd5— Clarion Ledger (@Clarion Ledger)1553520381.0
Olbermann — a passionate animal lover — caught wind of the piece and retweeted it to his followers on Tuesday along with this message: "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."
Waltman — who'd never even heard of Olbermann — told the paper, "I didn't like the idea of that too much. I don't think a lot of people would like to be called out on social media like that, especially [by someone] with so many followers. They text me all kinds of stuff. If [Olbermann] hadn't done that, none of this would have happened."
He added that "it seemed like a threat to me. Make [my] life 'a living hell'? That seems like a threat to me. I'd be glad to see him fired. He went overboard."
The paper's Steven Ward wrote in a follow-up, "Who can forget former MSNBC political commentator Keith Olbermann's 'Worst Person in the World' segment during his 2003-2011 show, 'Countdown with Keith Olbermann?' But today, perhaps Olbermann earned that title himself." Ward's piece reminded the New York City commentator that "hunting is very popular in the South."
As for Olbermann's attack on Broom — the author of the piece about Waltman's accomplishment — Clarion Ledger Executive Editor Sam R. Hall responded, "What was I thinking? I guess I should have fired our outdoors writer for writing about a hunter killing an unusual turkey during turkey hunting season."
Hall followed with a written statement Wednesday, the paper said: "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."
What happened next?
ESPN, which employs Olbermann, told Fox News it had a chat with Olbermann "about not making personal attacks."
I am an opponent of trophy hunting and remain so, but nobody should feel threatened. This was anything but my inten… https://t.co/YSMrcBQAIp— Keith Olbermann (@Keith Olbermann)1553730737.0
"I am an opponent of trophy hunting and remain so, but nobody should feel threatened," he wrote. "This was anything but my intent, so I unreservedly apologize to Mr. Waltman for this tweet."
As it happens, Olbermann's apology tweet has been suffering a terrible case of being "ratioed" — when comments far outnumber likes — with many responses echoing the following: "You really are a special breed of stupid aren't you. Try keeping your opinions to yourself."
Hilarious walk down memory lane
For all of Olbermann's outrage over the deceased turkey, let's not forget that he once made a turkey sandwich commercial for Boston Market. Not the best look, there, Keith: