Hideo Kojima, the creator of the popular “Metal Gear Solid” video game series, responded to being incorrectly identified as the assassin of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe after an online joke was taken too far.
On June 9, the video game designer released a statement via Kojima Productions’ official Twitter denouncing the spread of false information.
“#KojimaProductions strongly condemns the spread of fake news and rumors that convey false information,” read the post. “We do not tolerate such libel and will consider taking legal action in some cases.”
The source of the “fake news” appears to have come from a thread posted on 4chan, an imageboard website notorious for pranking journalists.
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After Abe’s murder, an anonymous user described Abe’s assassin on the /pol/ (politically incorrect) board, to be a 58-year-old man living in Tokyo who was a “known leftwing extremist.” Along with the post were photos of Kojima, jokingly identifying him as the shooter.
The “joke” went viral, however, after French alt-right politician Damien Rieu tweeted pictures of Kojima with the caption “Far left extremism kills” along with an image of him wearing a Soviet fur cap.
News outlets in Greece and Iran proceeded to report on the misinformation and incorrectly identified Kojima as Abe’s killer, according to Kotaku and Vice.
Rieu has since deleted the post and apologized on Twitter.
“I naively took a joke for information,” he wrote. “I never thought we could make humor about the assassination of a man but I was wrong to not check before sharing. My apologies to #HideoKojima and to the fans of #MetalGear.”
Abe, the longest-serving Japanese prime minister in history, died less than six hours after being shot in the chest and neck while delivering a speech at a campaign event in the Japanese city of Nara on Friday.
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