The fallout from unmasking an infamous Reddit troll took a surreal turn when “Violentacrez”—whose real name is Michael Brutsch—appeared on CNN to explain himself.
Reddit, which bills itself as “the frontpage of the Internet,” has entered the national consciousness recently, notably when President Obama took part in an “Ask Me Anything” over the summer. But Reddit became even more mainstream—and notorious—last week when Gawker revealed the identity of user Violentacrez, who was known to start hundreds of forums, including one called “Jailbait” that featured pictures of underage girls. After the Gawker article appeared, Brutsch was quickly fired, and a debate about anonymity on Reddit ensued.
On CNN, Brutsch seemed to acknowledge he had sealed his own fate: “There are hot button topics that you can make a comment about and enrage people. And sadly for me, I enjoy doing that.” But he was also evasive, saying he had an appreciative audience on Reddit. “I treated Reddit like a game. Apparently I have a gift for pushing buttons.”
The now out-of-work troll will have to push buttons elsewhere.