Keith Olbermann on Wednesday said he was sorry after criticizing a Mississippi newspaper and its story about a hunter killing a rare white turkey.
The TV commentator and ESPN personality, 60, tweeted that while he is against trophy hunting, "nobody should feel threatened."
"This was anything but my intent, so I unreservedly apologize to Mr. Waltman for this tweet," he wrote.
The apology came after Olbermann tweeted an article published Monday by Clarion-Ledger outdoor editor Brian Broom, titled “Hunter bags bizarre white turkey.”
The article chronicled Hunter Waltman's recent catch. Waltman, 22, of Kiln, Miss., told the Clarion-Ledger that the rare white turkey was “one of the hardest turkeys I’ve ever killed.”
Adam Butler of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, told the newspaper that the turkey Waltman killed was “exceptionally rare.” Waltman also told the Sun Herald he had received criticism from “a lot of haters” following the article's publication, saying “he shouldn’t have killed such a rare bird."
Olbermann took that criticism a few steps further, calling Waltman a "pea-brained scumbag" and the article's writer a "nitwit clown," as well as calling for the writer's job.
“It be rare and beautiful so me kill it,” Olbermann tweeted. “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.”
The Clarion-Ledger caught wind of Olbermann’s criticism and wrote a follow-up titled, “Keith Olbermann: Make this Mississippi hunter’s life hell for killing white turkey.”
“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?’” the Ledger’s Steven Ward wrote.
“But today, perhaps Olbermann earned that title himself. Why?” the article continued, explaining that “hunting is very popular in the South,” which may not be Olbermann’s cup of tea.
“But calling for firings and lives in hell? That seems a little far,” the piece continued.
The Clarion-Ledger’s Executive Editor Sam R. Hall commented on the article and Olbermann’s disapproval.
“Keith Olbermann says Brian Broom should be fired for writing this story,” he wrote. “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.”
He followed up with another tweet telling his followers to be on the lookout for Broom's "next terrific piece."
"Keith Olbermann‘s tweet was recklessly irresponsible. Someone with his following needs to understand the possible impact of his words," Hall told Fox News in a statement. "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.”
Waltman did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment. He told the Clarion-Ledger that he received "verbal attacks" following Olbermann's tweet.
"I didn't like the idea of that too much," he 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," Waltman told the Clarion-Ledger.
ESPN, too, confirmed it had spoken with Olbermann about his remarks.
"We have spoken to him about not making personal attacks," a representative for ESPN shared in an emailed statement to Fox News.
Olbermann, also a former MSNBC personality, has been outspoken on Twitter on animal rights and uses his platform to bring attention to animal shelters in need of donations.
Fox News' Elizabeth Zwirz contributed to this report.