On CNN, Reddit Troll Michael Brutsch Is "To Some Degree Apologizing For What I Did"

A few days after Arlington's now-outed Reddit troll Michael Brutsch sat for an interview in a Fort Worth hotel room with CNN reporter Drew Griffin, the rest of us finally got to see it. It's a bit of a trainwreck.

CNN's first shot of Brutsch shows him fidgeting nervously as he licks his lips and overgrown goatee. He looks shrunken and embarrassed as Griffin leads him through a series of questions about jailbait, rape jokes, and what the hell he was thinking.

"All I can say is I'm sorry," the 49-year-old Brutsch tells him. "I have made mistakes. I understand that Reddit encouraged and enabled this sort of behavior and I shouldn't have been a part of it. Nobody on Reddit really had anything to say about it at all. Since then I have come to understand there are situations where things are inappropriate."

Brutsch explains that he started off posting mostly softcore porn, which he separated out into various subreddits based on characteristics like skin color (the "Women of Color" subreddit) or breast size ("Boobies.")

"I saw it as folders to file things in," he says. Things.

But over time, he says, he realized it was fun to piss people off. "[There are] hot-button topics you can make a comment about and just enrage people, and sadly for me, I enjoyed that," he says. "I liked going in and making people really mad over what amounted to meaningless things... I treated Reddit like a game. Apparently I have a gift for pushing buttons."

Brutsch also repeatedly refers to his screenname, Violentacrez, as "a character."

"I am to some degree apologizing for what I did," he says, adding quickly, "I was playing to an audience of college kids. Two years ago, when all of this was at its height, the audience was appreciate and supportive of the sort of gallows humor I put out there."
"The biggest thrill" of the whole thing, he says, "was those meaningless internet points."

Brutsch says he's lost his job and his health insurance, and that he'll soon lose his home. He anticipates that he and his wife will move in with her family in Arkansas. "I really don't see myself being able to get a job," he says.

He's done posting on Reddit, he says. " There's no point anymore. No one's going to buy into the Violentacrez mystique anymore. It's gone." And with some of the subreddits, he adds, "I have come around over the last few months to understand that some of these things can be harmful to other people."

Meanwhile, over on Reddit, Brutsch continues to post under his "clean" screenname, mbrutsch, where he declares, "CNN was a huge mistake, which I will not repeat."

Redditgate has also served as an opportunity for cable news talking heads to blather about the nature of "free speech."

"Free speech is free speech as long as you're saying it out loud with your name on it," Drew Griffin tells Anderson Cooper, ridiculously. "This guy was hidden away anonymously, posting stuff, trying to tick people off."

Actually, there's no First Amendment requirement to sign your name to the stuff you're saying on the Internet. Nor should there be. Brutsch can go back online tomorrow and continue being obnoxious and gross. But as many people have pointed out in the wake of his unmasking, free speech doesn't mean freedom from the consequences of that speech.

Brutsch can post as many degrading images and comments about women, teenagers, Jews, dead children, African-Americans and rape victims as his heart desires. And if he ever truly goes silent, a thousand more trolls will spring up to take his place. Free speech isn't always pretty, and it isn't repercussion-free, but it's definitely not dead just yet.


My Voice Nation Help
12 comments
NoTroll
NoTroll

The DO has plenty of troll of it's own... 

GuitarPlayer
GuitarPlayer topcommenter

What an ass.......

GuitarPlayer
GuitarPlayer topcommenter

The interview didn't do him any favors. He should have just left town in the middle of the night.

albert.finney000
albert.finney000

In my experience, Internet trolls aren't very fond of lawyers, and they can be very eager to apologize when they have the opportunity to talk to one.

iobservehypocrites
iobservehypocrites

This is really rich coming from a publication that just a few weeks ago was making money off classified ads for children in sex-slavery. Also, the publication that "outed" this perv, Gawker, proudly posted nude creepshots of Kate Middleton just about a week ago, photos that are the very definition of "creepshots" since they were taken without her knowledge, in a place where she expected privacy, and published without her knowledge. That perv Violenacrez never made money off what he did. Until very recently, YOU, ANNA MERLAN, made money in part off the backs of child sex-slaves. You libtard media propagandists are all a bunch of transparent disgusting hypocrites. You are equally as gross as Violentacrez and in some ways you are WORSE.

leftocenter
leftocenter

Speaking of trolls...wow...

 

Hint, when you can't comment without hurling insults at those whose opinions differ from yours, that pretty much makes you a troll...

 

Ads for child sex-trafficking?  You have a link to that?  I mean to VERIFY...don't get the wrong idea...seriously...

iobservehypocrites
iobservehypocrites

But you probably think Kate Middleton deserved to have creepshot nudes of her posted worldwide because you think she is such a rich spoiled beautiful white-privileged bitch.

chasd00
chasd00 like.author.displayName 1 Like

And so it goes. There's no shortage of Michael Brutsch's out there, it's curious that he gets so much attention for doing something mastered by so many others.

Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...