On July 5, 2017, news outlet CNN published an article written by Andrew Kaczynski titled "How CNN found the Reddit user behind the Trump wrestling GIF". The article claimed that CNN had discovered the identity of Reddit user "HanA**holeSolo", who originally shared the video of Trump wrestling CNN on the subreddit /r/the_donald.The article stated that the Reddit user had also made several other offensive posts that were racist, bigoted, and anti-semitic. Before the article was published, CNN attempted to call HanA**holeSolo but received no response. The user soon after wrote an apology on Reddit for his past posts and removed them. When the article came out, it included the following paragraphs:
Shortly after publication, CNN faced severe backlash on social media for the threat to release HanA**holeSolo's personal information if the user's apology was revoked. People, such as Ted Cruz, accused CNN of possibly having committed extortion and blackmail for the statement. Twitter's trending included #CNNBlackmail as well as "The End of CNN".
Numerous memes began to circulate on social media sites, such as 4chan and Twitter under #CNNMemeWar. The images commonly displayed hostage scenarios with CNN and Reddit overlays depicting CNN as the hostage taker and Reddit as the victim apologizing for the wrestling video of Trump. Memes were further reposted subreddits, including /r/the_donald and several others, while meme related channels on YouTube uploaded compilations. The meme uploads continued for more than a week after the InfoWars contest announcement.