Stephen King has admitted to falling victim to Russian pranksters Vovan and Lexus after he was heard praising Ukrainian nationalist and Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera as “a great man.” In a tweet posted on Thursday, the best-selling author said he didn’t actually know who Bandera was and that he was embarrassed.
Pranksters Vovan and Lexus spoke with King while pretending to be Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky and asked the author a number of questions throughout the 15-minute-long call.
Among the topics discussed, the pair managed to solicit a promise from King to feature Zelensky in a film, where he could play the role of Pennywise, the dancing demon clown from King’s ‘It’.
They also convinced King to consider writing a script in support of the Azov Regiment – a Ukrainian neo-Nazi paramilitary group. “They are people who really love Ukraine. It’s not Nazis. It’s Azov,” said the pranksters.
“Of course, they love some people like Bandera, our national hero. So, what do you think of Bandera?” they asked, referring to Stepan Bandera – a Ukrainian nationalist and Nazi collaborator who was responsible for the massacre of 60,000 Poles During World War II and the killing of over 133,000 Jews, Poles, and Russians.
“Yeah, he had some crimes, but it’s not so big crimes. It’s of course [accidental], [they were] crimes against Jews. But it’s really important to keep him opposed to Putin and his propaganda,” insisted the pranksters.
King, who was wearing a pro-Ukrainian hat and boasted about flying a Ukrainian flag outside his window, concurred and said that there were always things that can be found against people to “pull them down.”
The author went on to compare American leaders of the past to Bandera, saying that “Washington and Jefferson were slave owners. That doesn’t mean they didn’t do many good things for the United States of America.”
“There are things that we do that are bad choices, and there are things that we do that are great choices. So, on the whole, Bandera is a great man and you’re a great man. And Viva Ukraine,” King told the fake Zelensky.
After receiving backlash on social media for the statement, King wrote on Twitter that he never said anything in support of Bandera and insisted that it was all “pure crap. Troll s**t. No truth to it.”
However, as more people pointed to the video where the author could be clearly heard praising Bandera, King acknowledged his statement, but maintained that he had “no idea who this guy Bandera was.”
Tying up the confession, he also wrote “as the Buddha once said: ‘s**t happens’.”
King is the latest victim to fall for Vovan and Lexus’ prank calls. Last month, the duo published a video with Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, where she gave her permission to inscribe a killing curse from her books on Ukrainian missiles, many of which target civilians.
The two of them now post their videos to the Russian video hosting platform RuTube after two of their channels were deleted from YouTube following bombshell interviews with former US President George W. Bush, UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, and UK Home Secretary Priti Patel.
Other prominent victims of the Russian pranksters, whose real names are Vladimir Kuznetsov and Alexey Stolyarov, include Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, US Vice President Kamala Harris, Prince Harry, and pop icon Elton John.