KILN, Miss. (CBS Local) — A South Mississippi man said he is receiving verbal attacks after TV personality Keith Olbermann asked his million-plus followers on Twitter to “make sure the rest of his life is a living hell” for killing a rare white turkey.
Hunter Waltman, 22, shot the turkey March 16 on his property in Kiln. Turkey season had just opened the day before and it was the first kill Waltman had made on the property, which he recently purchased.
A story by the Jackson-based newspaper Clarion Ledger followed on March 25, with Waltman recalling the moment he shot the wild turkey. The story was soon re-tweeted by Keith Olbermann, an ESPN commentator and former MSNBC political host who has more than one million followers.
“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,” Olbermann tweeted. “And the nitwit clown who wrote this fawning piece should be fired.”
Olbermann’s tweet quickly went viral. While no one has directly threatened to harm Waltman, the Clarion Ledger reported, some have said they hope harm comes his way.
“To tell you the truth, it seemed like a threat to me,” Waltman told the paper “Make (my) life ‘a living hell?’ That seems like a threat to me. I’d be glad to see him fired. He went overboard.”
While some people agreed with Olbermann, others came to Waltman’s defense, including Mississippi Lt. Governor and gubernatorial candidate Tate Reeves.
“The radical left despises our state and our people,” Reeves tweeted. “Scary and sad.”
Clarion Ledger Executive Editor Sam Hall defended Outdoors Editor Brian Broom, who wrote the article.
“What was I thinking?” Hall tweeted. “I guess I should have fired our outdoors writer for writing about a hunter killing an unusual turkey during turkey hunting season.”
Hall followed up on Wednesday with a written statement, suggesting that it is Olbermann who should be fired.
“Keith Olbermann‘s tweet was recklessly irresponsible,” he wrote. “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.”
Olbermann took to Twitter on Wednesday to apologize for his call to action.
The tweet came after ESPN released the following statement: “We have spoken to him about not making personal attacks.”