On Thursday, Michael Brutsch, the 49-year-old Texan whom Gawker’s Adrien Chen exposed last week as notorious Reddit troll Violentacrez, gave his first television interview on Anderson Cooper’s “360.” As Violentacrez, Brutsch was behind the (thankfully now defunct) subreddit Jailbait and had until recently been moderating his new pet Reddit project, Creepshots, a gallery of leering, surreptitiously shot photos of women. The “Violentacrez character,” as Brutsch refers to himself, was also behind such provocative subreddits as Rapebait, Chokeabitch and Picsofdeadkids, and claimed he had sex with his stepdaughter. In other words, he’s one of the grossest examples of our species we’ve currently got going.
The self-described “creepy uncle of Reddit,” who was dismissed from his job after his online alter ego was revealed, seemed embarrassed yet only marginally self-aware in his conversation with Drew Griffin as he humble-bragged, “There are hot-button topics that you can make a comment about and just enrage people … Apparently I have a gift for pushing buttons.”
At one point in the conversation, Griffin faced Brutsch and said of his behavior, “I’m a father. Of a daughter. I would be very mad at you.” Brutsch’s face at that moment was priceless, briefly flickering with the understanding that those drooled over girls in their underwear he posted all over Reddit are somebody’s daughters. Then the light went off again.
“All I can say is that I’m sorry. I have made mistakes,” he said, before adding, “Reddit encouraged and enabled this sort of behavior, and I shouldn’t have been a part of it. Nobody on Reddit really had anything to say about it at all. Since then, I have come to understand that there are situations where things are inappropriate … I am to some degree apologizing for what I did … I was playing to an audience of college kids. And you know, when two years ago, when all of this was at its height, the audience was appreciative and supportive of the sort of gallows humor that I put out there.”
Brutsch is a grown-ass man who has made his own choices, choices that creatures with opposable thumbs would generally find repugnant. Yet when he showed off the gold-plated Reddit bobblehead award he received “for making significant contributions to the site,” he was offering very real evidence that in addition to being a singular, walking piece of vomit, he’s also undeniably a bro in a community of fellow dirtbags. He existed, and thrived, because he had the encouragement to do so.