Des Moines Register reportedly faces threats, adds police presence after story backlash

The Des Moines Register has reportedly received threats and is taking extra precautions to secure its staff after a story published on Tuesday drew backlash on social media.

WHO-TV that the Des Moines Police Department will have presence outside of the Register's office "around the clock" and that the management has hired an off-duty police officer to secure inside the building.

"We are certainly aware of some of the threats they've had. They made a report to the police department so that goes on our radar as a place we are going to want to give a little extra attention to,” Des Moines Police Sergeant Paul Parizek said.

This comes after Iowa's largest paper was slammed over a piece profiling 24-year-old Iowan native, Carson King, who became a TV sensation last weekend after he held up a sign at a football game asking people to donate money to him. He requested that they donate the funds through Venmo so he could buy his "supply" of Busch Light.

King went on to raise more than $1 million and donated the money to the University of Iowa's Stead Children's Hospital. Busch Light and Venmo pledged to match King's fundraising efforts.

The newspaper report, however, included a "routine background check" of King's social media history. Register reporter Aaron Calvin came across two racist jokes that dated back to 2012 when King was a 16-year-old high school student, "one comparing black mothers to gorillas and another making light of black people killed in the Holocaust."


King was asked about the tweets and immediately expressed remorse.

"That’s not something that I’m proud of at all," King told the Register on Tuesday.

He appeared on local TV stations to apologize and said, "I am embarrassed and stunned to reflect on what I thought was funny when I was 16 years old."

In light of the tweets, Busch Light's parent company, Anheuser-Busch InBev, announced that it was severing ties with King but promised to honor its pledge.

After the piece was published Tuesday evening, critics slammed the Register for digging up the tweets.

The Register's Executive Editor Carol Hunter issued a statement responding to the backlash and shed some light on the internal discussion about whether to include details about King's social media posts.

"Should that material be included in the profile at all? The jokes were highly inappropriate and were public posts. Shouldn't that be acknowledged to all the people who had donated money to King's cause or were planning to do so?" Hunter wrote.

Hunter went on to defend the paper's decision to include such information, noting that it was toward the bottom of the profile and not placed prominently at the top.


Despite the uproar, King defended the paper and its reporter.

"The Des Moines Register has been nothing but kind in all of their coverage, and I appreciate the reporter pointing out the post to me," King tweeted. "I want everyone to understand that this was my decision to publicly address the posts and apologize. I believe that is the right thing to do."

In a statement to Fox News, King expressed that he didn't want "any of this negativity to hinder with the amazing work everyone has done for the hospital."