Earlier today, former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shockingly assassinated. Then the internet did its usual shitty thing of making bad jokes out of current events, and that eventually led to a news station in Greece misidentifying famous game developer Hideo Kojima as the assassin.
Shortly after today’s assassination, some shitty people in a dank corner of the internet joked that Abe’s suspected killer looked like Kojima. Eventually, this reached Twitter, where far-right French politician Damien Rieu—perhaps not understanding that it was a joke—retweeted images of Kojima with a comment that translates to “The extreme left kills,” helping spread it more. While Rieu did eventually delete the tweets, it seems the damage was already done and might have helped mislead at least one news station in Greece that covered the assassination.
During a segment about the attack on Abe, the station aired images of Kojima and misidentified him as the suspected assassin. Here’s the clip below:
A viewer who contacted Kotaku about the news broadcast helped translate what is being said during the part where Kojima is shown on screen.
Tetsuya has confessed to his actions to the police, admitting that he wanted Abe dead because he was disappointed and upset with him. The police have learned that he [the culprit] had served in the Navy Special Forces and taught a unit in Medical School on Physiotherapy for dementia patients. He was passionate about Che Guevara.
It appears that some online—as well as this news broadcast—are connecting the killer to Che Guevara based entirely on one of the photos of Kojima, which shows him standing next to an image of the famous Cuban revolutionary leader.
And to be clear: No, Kojima isn’t the assassin, and the only reason this has become a thing is because of racists joking online that all Japanese people look the same. A horrible example of how shitty, offensive humor can have real-world consequences.
Hideo Kojima has yet to respond to being misidentified as the killer of Shinzo Abe, but I can’t imagine how horrible this situation is for the Metal Gear creator. Over on ResetEra, where a thread has developed about this situation, many are calling the people sharing this nonsense idiots and suggesting outlets and media companies don’t rip their stories from 4chan or joke accounts on Twitter. Good advice!