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October 18th, 2012
04:26 PM ET

Tonight on AC360: Exclusive interview with Reddit “Jailbait” moderator

Even if you’ve never heard of Michael Brutsch from Arlington, Texas, you may be aware of what he’s done to distribute sexually suggestive pictures of underage girls online. Known as Violentacrez on Reddit, his real identity was exposed by Gawker last week. Tonight in an exclusive interview on AC360°, Brutsch tells CNN’s Drew Griffin about the disturbing content he created, why he became a notorious Internet troll, and the consequences of losing anonymity.

Brutsch, 49, says moderating “Jailbait,” which he created in 2008, and other sections of the site was his way of relaxing after work, which he no longer finds necessary because he’s now out of a job. He agreed to the interview because he wants to clear up what’s been said about him. Although he posted about sexually assaulting his stepdaughter, he says he never did. He only made that up as part of his Reddit character to boost Violentacrez’s credibility as “ the king of posting porn.” He also wants to make it known that he didn’t start a section called “Creepshots,” a collection of pictures taken of unsuspecting women, but was asked to moderate.

When Anderson Cooper reported on the alarming “Jailbait” photos a year ago, the section boasted “keep a teen off the streets – put her in your van!” and welcomed ephebophiles – people who are sexually attracted to adolescents. It’s since been banned. Brutsch is linked to other offensive sections like “Rapebait,” “Incest,” and “Chokeabitch.”

“I treated Reddit like a game,” Brutsch says. “Apparently I have a gift for pushing buttons.” This is also his reasoning for posting vulgar shots of dead children he took from other sites. “It was there to outrage people. Just to make people mad, and I realize it was very childish.”

Once the instigator of rape jokes, Brutsch deleted that content and tells Griffin “I am to some degree apologizing for what I did.” But why then did he continue to publish lewd images? He calls it “addictive” and argues he was playing within the rules and working with Reddit administrators to ensure there was no child porn or nudity. Only, as he puts it, “mature teenagers with their clothes on or with their naughty bits covered.”

Regarding Reddit’s oversight, Brutsch says “they really don’t care what gets posted on there until they get bad press.” In a statement to CNN, Reddit says it “regrets not taking stronger action sooner,” and that “Mr. Brutsch was banned several times.” The company also said it “follows all the legal requirements regarding illegal content, including reporting to the proper authorities. By its nature, moderators at Reddit have complete control over the subsections they start unless they violate site rules or the law.”

Tonight, more on Brutsch’s family, and what it’s like for him no longer being able to hide behind his troll alter-ego. Watch Drew Griffin’s report at 8 and 10 p.m. ET.

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Filed under: Drew Griffin • Internet • Reddit
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Scott

    Giving this pervert exactly what he wants. Attention. Good job, CNN. Good job, Anderson Cooper.

    October 18, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
  2. J.C.

    Let the person that is without sin cast the first stone.

    October 18, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
  3. Fay

    this guy came on TV to get publicity, he is not in his right mind! he just wanted the publicity so that any other sick twisted person (preferably with money and sick taste as him) can find a way to connect with him... this guy should be sent to serious rehab and held there... if left free he will move on to something worse as soon as he has the opportunity and means to ... as a parent i feel so alarmed !!

    October 18, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
  4. j

    We need to stop giving these creeps the 15 min.'s they so deserately seek!

    October 18, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
  5. David Moore

    Hey know what is a good thing to have? Forgiveness. I am not sure he will ever want to change (he may have been forced to by us) but we would be better people to forgive him. His life is ruined because of his immature little ways. But we need to be better people and try to little forgiveness. Oh wait, you say "no way"? Let me know how that feels when you 1) go to church on Sunday or 2) when something happens to you... and you would rather be forgiven. By the way, if someone feels the need to attack what I have said, you are no better a troll than this guy.

    October 18, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
  6. Calimhero

    Like every bully, you are only sorry because you got caught, VA. And like the troll that you are, you use your fifteen minutes of infamy to get more attention on yourself. How is this going to get you a new job? You truly are deranged.

    October 18, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
  7. B

    We are calling him a moderator because that's what he did. Also, the reddit statement is a giant lie, Brutsch was an active user (highly active) and was nominated (and won) User of the Year and Mod of the Year

    October 18, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
  8. Quoger

    This guy should be put in Jail....and CNN should not give him any more air time than he has already gotten on the Internet

    October 18, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
  9. Nanami

    People should go easy on this guy. He found the images, he didn't produce them. Maybe if people were more careful, we wouldn't have this issue.

    October 18, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
  10. Marek Pajak

    I guess a typical IT/high tech worker. Brilliant in terms of mathematical ability but a social idiot. Not much success in relationships with the opposite sex, a loner. Few friends. Lives in a fantasy world on the Internet to escape the depression and gloom of reality.

    October 18, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
  11. xardoz

    The Reddit admins didn't BAN ViolentAcrez, they coddled him up until Chen exposed him.

    1. Chatted with him several times because he was such a Goood Mod. His personal twitter shows he was on speaking terms with HueyPriest, Aka Erik Martin.
    2. Gave him a special "pimp hat badge" for posting so much wonderful "jailbait" (that gave Reddit many, many pageviews)
    3. ViolentAcrez wrote some of Reddit's help documentation. The admins would not give a job like this to someone they "banned" several times.

    October 18, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
  12. Gloria

    Just another weird little man , with his weird little "life". It is so easy to hide behind a keyboard & change your name just to be an idiot online as well as in real life .

    October 18, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
  13. Mary

    Disgusting.

    October 18, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
  14. NoSympahty

    Boo Hoo, oh wait, I have no sympathy for this guy. Which is about as much sympathy he had for all of the innocent people's pictures he posted for 'laughs' over the past 2 years. Hopefully this makes other trolls think twice about their actions online and the potential consequences if and when they are exposed to society.

    October 18, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
  15. Wait What

    Most people don't find pleasure in poking peoples buttons via dead kids, rape and cp. This guys clearly nuts and is trying to take it seem like a joke.

    October 18, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
  16. Michelle B.

    This guy is disgusting. I don't understand how promoting illegal and destructive material is any different than creating it. This guy should be in jail.

    October 18, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • James

      It isn't illegal.

      October 18, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
  17. COOL365

    It's so great that thousands of redditors can now see the face of their God. A cool guy on a cool website.

    October 18, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • Jalamela Verga

      LOL "god"? The guy was a troll; everyone knew that.

      People like YOU keep referring to him as a "god" but in reality you're just attacking a strawman.

      October 18, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
  18. lakawak

    I think it is fairly easy to see why this guy doesn't get out much.

    October 18, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  19. Heatherisonfire

    Why are we calling this filth a moderator? This man posted pictures of dead teenage girls. Let's call a spade a spade.

    October 18, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  20. E.

    I hope to God you aren't paying this creep for his interview.

    October 18, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • Vanessa

      freak!! How could he get away with this!! Dead Kids!! He should be in jail!! Sick person and an Internet site that allowed this kind of abuse, blatant disregard for laws, or who he hurt with his disgusting acts and shame on reddit for allowing it.. I think everyone should close their reddit accts

      October 18, 2012 at 11:03 pm |