On Wednesday, New York Daily News reporter Shaun King was asked via email to appear on CNN with Don Lemon. He promptly and fervently declined with: “I will never appear anywhere with Don for the rest of my natural life.” King then posted the email exchange on Twitter and Facebook and immediately received cease and desist notices from both CNN and Twitter, along with threats to freeze his accounts.
The story that sparked the decline was that of a Fox Lake, Illinois, police officer named Lt. Charles Gliniewicz, whose death on September 1st was initially reported as a homicide during a foot chase.
However, investigators later revealed that Gliniewicz had not only committed suicide but that he’d also been embezzling cash from a local youth program he’d reportedly been helping and orchestrated a suicide plan when investors got too close to uncovering his secret.
On September 1st, police allege that Gliniewicz staged a crime scene and then shot himself twice.
Infowars, a conservative website, quickly blamed the Black Lives Matter movement for Gliniewicz’s death in a post called “Another Cop Executed in Illinois: Will it be linked to Black Lives Matter and other racist groups?” Ron Hosko, former Assistant Director of the FBI and current President of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund, wrote an op-ed in US
— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) November 4, 2015
Shaun King pointed out these inconsistencies with a number of tweets on Wednesday and in a NYDN article. CNN, which initially covered the incident with Don Lemon’s usual off-putting commentary, emailed King offering him a guest spot on Lemon’s show to discuss the topic.
King declined in an unforgettable way, and then posted his correspondence with a CNN booker both on Facebook and Twitter. Within hours, King says, he was told to remove the posts on both platforms or risk frozen accounts, and he obliged—but not before his accounts were locked anyway.
What does this mean for the future of text and email screenshotting? Was either side justified in their attempts to have the exchange deleted from Twitter and isn’t it already too late by the time a user hits the tweet button?