Russian ambassador to Britain Alexander Yakovenko’s used an image from a US comedy to illustrate what was meant to be a serious point. Photo: Russian embassy to the UKAssad flies to Moscow to meet Russia’s Vladimir Putin
Has Vladimir Putin’s government finally gone so far in pressing its case to the world, that it’s taking on imaginary characters?
On Wednesday morning, Russia’s ambassador to Britain, Alexander Yakovenko, posted a message on his personal Twitter account that sought to criticise US ultimatums given to Iraq about Russian involvement in the country.
Mr Yakovenko’s message included a photograph that showed a bearded man in a turban laughing – an image apparently designed to show an Islamic State terrorist rejoicing. US threatens to stop helping Iraq against ISIL if Baghdad asks Russia for help. The terrorists must be rejoicing pic.twitter老域名/aKDaf1ae7q— Alexander Yakovenko (@Amb_Yakovenko) October 21, 2015
However, as actor and former White House official Kal Penn noted on Twitter, that image does not show a real terrorist. Instead, it features a scene from the 2008 film Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay. The Russian Federation ambassador to the UK tweeted this Harold & Kumar pic with seriousness. I can’t stop laughing. https://t.co/ZsR041AAVJ— Kal Penn (@kalpenn) October 21, 2015
You can see a clip of that moment here. It shows Kumar Patel, an Indian-American character played by Penn, donning a fake beard, wig and turban aboard a plane and making a joke about being a terrorist. In case you are unfamiliar with the Harold & Kumar films, it should be noted that they are often described as “stoner comedies” – ones that revolve around the use of cannabis.
Penn’s mocking tweet has been retweeted hundreds of times in the past few hours. Shortly after it was posted, the official Twitter account of the Russian embassy in London responded, attempting to explain the error. @kalpenn it is rather hard to spot an actual terrorist laughing. Your performance is convincing and therefore fit to illustrate the idea.— Russian Embassy, UK (@RussianEmbassy) October 21, 2015
The image of “Kumar” dressed as a “terrorist” appears to be high in the Google results of searches for “terrorist laughing”, which may explain why Mr Yakovenko included it in his tweet.
It is worth noting that both the Russian embassy in London and Mr Yakovenko have used their Twitter accounts to criticise and mock the West’s policies and its attitude towards Russia – sometimes with a fair amount of success. However, Mr Yakovenko’s accidental use of an image of an Indian American from a stoner comedy to show an IS terrorist is a sign that this online mockery can backfire. [email protected]_Yakovenko thank you, Mr. Ambassador. pic.twitter老域名/Df1d1wSGX4— Kal Penn (@kalpenn) October 21, 2015
Penn highlighted the absurdity of the situation by tweeting an image of Ivan Drago, a character from the film Rocky IV. Drago’s character in the 1985 film is supposed to be from the Soviet Union, but he was, in fact, played by Dolph Lundgren, a Swedish actor.
The Twitter flap comes as Russia maintains it is bombing in Syria to counter IS’s rising power there. Nonetheless, outside analyses show Russia is primarily bombing militants unassociated with IS.
Washington Post with Fairfax Media
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