Anderson Cooper hits back at homophobic trolls during live TV broadcast
Anderson Cooper dedicated a ten-minute segment on his CNN show this week to respond to conspiracy theorists and trolls.
Cooper was the subject of a false conspiracy theory during coverage of Hurricane Florence, with a widely-shared image on social media purporting to show him kneeling in shallow water to make it look ‘deep’ while camera operators easily stand nearby.
The claim, which was shared by President Donald Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr., Trump campaign affiliates and a string of right-wing activists, has no basis in reality, the journalist explained.
Responding on Anderson Cooper 360°, the host explained the image was actually a decade old, from 2008’s Hurricane Ike. He also played footage from the broadcast in which he wades around in the deep water, while referencing shallower areas in front of him.
Speaking on the show, Cooper took Trump Jr. to task and angrily hit back at the trolls – taking particular issue with homophobic jibes aimed at him.
The journalist said: “Some guy I’ve never heard of made a joke on Twitter that I was on my knees in the water to make it look deep, and then went on to say I was used to being on my knees, which I assume is some kind of anti-gay reference. Very classy.”
He added: “The idea that I was kneeling in water to make it look deep is frankly idiotic.”
“The idea I am kneeling in water to make it look deep is idiotic.” @AndersonCooper debunks the lies being spread by Donald Trump Jr., and others who falsely claimed he and his team exaggerated the severity of Hurricane Florence. #KeepingThemHonest https://t.co/j2HptrYpe0 pic.twitter.com/zwfvIXCsIY
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) September 18, 2018
The referenced ‘joke’ was posted by far-right conspiracy theorist Mark Dice.
Dice has defended his joke and apparently did not appreciate Cooper’s derisory reference to his lack of notability, as he discussed in a series of tweets on Monday.
“Anderson Cooper just said I’m ‘some guy he’s never heard of’ when crying about a joke I tweeted about him over the weekend. If that’s true, that shows just how out of touch you are,” he first wrote.
He then said in a subsequent tweet: “Anderson Cooper says I’m ‘some guy’ he’s ‘never heard of’ yet he whines about a joke I tweeted about him.
“Why bother mentioning it if I haven’t gotten under his skin? People tweet things about CNN anchors every day.”
“I don’t believe in apologizing for hilarious jokes just because CNN doesn’t think they’re funny. Sorry, not sorry,” Dice added in a third tweet:
Cooper has faced repeated attacks from the Trump family.
In 2016, Donald Trump unsuccessfully demanded the journalist be dropped as a Presidential debate moderator, claiming he would be “very biased.”
He fumed to The Washington Post: “I don’t think Anderson Cooper should be a moderator, because Anderson Cooper works for CNN.
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“He’ll be very biased, very biased. I don’t think he should be a moderator.
“I’ll participate, but I don’t think he should be a moderator.”
“CNN is the Clinton News Network, and Anderson Cooper, I don’t think he can be fair.”