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Violentacrez apologizes: 'I was playing to an audience of college kids'

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Violentavrez CNN interview
Violentavrez CNN interview

Michael Brutsch — the man behind the controversial Reddit handle Violentacrez — has spoken to CNN, offering up an apology and an explanation for his actions on the site. Brutsch, whose public identity was outed by Gawker last week, said in an interview that he made a "huge mistake" in creating subreddits that served as places to share everything from rape jokes to pictures of pregnant women. "Well, I am to some degree apologizing for what I did. Again, I was playing to an audience of college kids," he said. "The audience was appreciative and supportive of the kind of gallows humor that I put out there."

The disclosure of Violentacrez's true identity led to a firestorm of controversy, with Reddit temporarily instituting a ban on Gawker links. The move was later reversed, with Reddit CEO Yishan Wong writing in a recent letter that "We stand for freedom of speech," and that while unmasking users may not be acceptable on Reddit itself, it was't going to ban media sources for having done so. Reddit took even further steps to distance itself from Brutsch when communicating with CNN, writing in an email that it "regret(s) not taking stronger action sooner" against his behavior.

Brutsch, who posted that he lost his job in the wake of the Gawker story, was also asked by CNN if he got "a thrill" from posting the content on Reddit that he did. "Honestly," Brutsch said, "the biggest thrill I got was those meaningless internet points."

Update: CNN has now posted its entire interview with Violentacrez. In the extended clips, Brutsch attempts to deflect criticism by faulting the community for incentivizing and rewarding him with karma points and even a gold-plated Reddit alien bobble head. While the clip suggests Reddit staff presented Brutsch with the trophy for creating and maintaining the 'jailbait' subreddit, it was later pointed out that it was an award for "Worst Reddit" voted upon by the community.