A hunter in Mississipi received “verbal attacks” after being singled out by ESPN commentator Keith Olbermann on Twitter. Earlier today Olbermann freaked out over a minor story about a hunter shooting an unusual white turkey during turkey hunting season. Olbermann called for the author of the story to be fired and said of Hunter Waltman, the man who shot the turkey, “we should do our best to make sure the rest of his life is a living hell.” (h/t Caleb Hull)
That implied threat didn’t go over well with anyone, including Olbermann’s employer. Fox News reports ESPN has spoken to him about the incident but there aren’t any additional details. Something must have happened though because Olbermann deleted the tweet and apologized:
I am an opponent of trophy hunting and remain so, but nobody should feel threatened. This was anything but my intent, so I unreservedly apologize to Mr. Waltman for this tweet.
— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) March 27, 2019
Needless to say, this is a lie. When someone encourages a million people to make your life a living hell, that’s a threat. And sure enough, Hunter Waltman says he received messages from people who hoped something bad would happen to him. From the Clarion-Ledger:
Waltman said he is receiving verbal attacks due to Olbermann’s actions. While no one directly threatened to harm him, some said they hope harm comes his way.
“I didn’t like the idea of that too much,” Waltman said. “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 he (Olbermann) hadn’t done that, none of this would have happened.”…
“To tell you the truth, it seemed like a threat to me,” Waltman said. “Make (my) life ‘a living hell?’ That seems like a threat to me. I’d be glad to see him fired. He went overboard.”
As always, I don’t support firing people for having bad opinions. But in this case, it’s actually Olbermann trying to get someone fired for an opinion (the author of the story). Also, as Waltman said, what Olbermann tweeted went well beyond expressing an opinion about hunting. He was trying to get a mob worked enough to generate some real-life misery for a complete stranger and he succeeded. That’s despicable and I hope ESPN’s talk with him made it clear he has used up his only pass.
Finally, the punchline of this story is that Olbermann himself once starred in a commercial selling turkey sandwiches for Boston Market. So apparently trophy hunting a turkey is cause for making someone’s life hell but getting paid to tell people to eat turkey sandwiches is just fine.