Former PacketSled CEO Matt Harrigan is blaming being drunk for posting a death threat against President-elect Donald Trump on Election Day last week.
Harriman has apologized for the post, and has temporarily moved his family. He has also faced an interview with the United States Secret Service.
Harrigan told San Diego ABC News affiliate 10 News on Tuesday that he feels “stupid” over comments he now says were posted while he was drunk on Election Night. The comments led the U.S. Secret Service to interview him for two hours at his Del Mar, California home.
The night of the November 8, 2016 presidential election, Harrigan posted several threatening messages to his personal Facebook page: “I’m going to kill the president. Elect.” and “Bring it secret service.”
Those were followed by messages that went into greater detail, as shown on Reddit.
“Nope, getting a sniper rifle and perching myself where it counts. Find a bedroom in the whitehouse that suits you mother*******. I’ll find you,” another post read. And yet another, “In no uncertain terms, f*** you America. Seriously. F*** off.”
Harrigan told local 10 News that a Facebook friend shared the comment from Facebook to Twitter and it went viral. In the interview with 10 News, Harrigan said of seeing the comments go viral two days later, “I was blown away and that was the moment I knew that that wow, I, ya know, something that I said completely off the cuff that I obviously have no intention of participating in, um, while drinking on Election Night, has now made it out to somewhere that it never belonged.”
The U.S. Secret Service took the death threats seriously enough to conduct the interview this week. They did not comment at the time on whether there would be charges, according to the local news outlet.
While Harrigan called his death threat a “distasteful joke,” he told 10 News that there have been death threats against his family, and he is taking those seriously. He said he has moved his family out of their home for now.
The lesson he said he learned was that you can’t make a joke about such a topic “no matter how slight.”
10 News reporter Allison Ash challenged Harrigan as a “cyber-security guy,” asking if he really believed the comments posted to the Internet would stay within his Facebook friend group. Harrigan’s response? “Well, things frequently do.”
Harrigan told the local reporter that he felt “terrible” and “stupid” for posting the comments. He tried to explain in the interview with Ash that his first couple of comments got laughs in response and “you’re just sorta sitting there not really thinking about … the thing that you’re saying … admittedly I had had quite a bit to drink.”
In light of Harrigan’s comments, PacketSled issued the following statement:
PacketSled takes recent comments made by our CEO, seriously. Once we were made aware of these comments, we immediately reported this information to the secret service and will cooperate fully with any inquiries. These comments do not reflect the views or opinions of PacketSled, its employees, investors or partners. Our CEO has been placed on administrative leave.
Harrigan submitted his resignation to PacketSled on Tuesday and the company accepted it.
“I feel stupid,” he said in the interview during, which he said he would take it back if he could. “He is gonna be our president now and I hope he can do a great job for us … Anybody who took offense to what I said, I’m deeply apologetic.”
10 News reported that Harrigan has “pulled the plug on all his social media accounts.” Harrigan’s Twitter appeared to still be active as of Wednesday night, with the title of “President & CEO, PacketSled,” but no post had been made since three apologetic tweets made on November 13, hours before PacketSled’s statement on the matter was posted to the company’s Twitter account.
Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana