“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.”
Best-selling author Stephen King was hoodwinked by Russian pranksters into thinking he was in a call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. During the call, he praised Stepan Bandera, one of the architects of the Holocaust.
Popular pranksters Vovan and Lexus spoke with King and appeared to convince King to offer “Zelensky” a role as Pennywise, the demon clown from King’s It, in a movie. The Ukrainian president was an actor prior to getting into politics.
The pair also convinced King to consider writing a screenplay supporting the Azov Regiment, a neo-Nazi paramilitary organization. They said, “They are people who really love Ukraine. It’s not Nazis. It’s Azov.”
The duo continued, “Of course, they love some people like Bandera, our national hero. So, what do you think of Bandera? He was in the Second World War, and he fought against the Soviet Union.”
Bandera, a Nazi collaborator, led the Organization of Ukrainian nationalists, which was directly involved in the massacre of 60,000 Poles during World War II, killing 133,000 Jews, Poles, and Russians. Over a million Jews were killed in Ukraine during the Holocaust.The prankster added, “But, yeah, he had some crimes, but it’s not so big crimes. It’s of course [accidental], [they were] were crimes against Jews. But it’s really important to keep him opposed to Putin and his propaganda.”King, who was wearing a pro-Ukraine t-shirt and hat replied, “Well yes, I mean there are always… you can always find things against people to pull them down.”The horror and thriller author continued, “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 always people who have flaws – we’re human,” King added. “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.”
According to historian Karel Berkhoff, Bandera was obsessed with the idea that the Jews in Ukraine were responsible for Communism and Stalinist imperialism and must be destroyed.
When the Germans invaded the USSR in June of 1941 and captured the East Galician capital of Lvov, Bandera’s lieutenants pledged to work with Hitler and launched a series of pogroms that killed four thousand Jews in just a few days. A Banderist pamphlet told Ukrainian Jews, “We will lay your heads at Hitler’s feet.”
David Lange of Israellycool, one of Israel’s largest English-language blogs, wrote in response to King’s comments, “I don’t believe Stephen King is actually an antisemite but this is still an incredibly offensive take. If he truly opposes antisemitism, he needs to apologize for these comments.”