Hideo Kojima’s game studio has issued a response after fake reports were circulated on social media and news outlets in which Kojima was mistakenly identified as the murderer of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. In a tweetKojima Productions says it “strongly condemns the spread of fake news and rumors conveying false information” and “will consider legal action in some cases.”
On Friday, a man shot and killed Abe during his speech at a political campaign rally. Police arrested the gunman at the scene, who was later identified as 41-year-old Tetsuya Yamagami.
Shortly after the incident, an internet troll on 4chan posted a racist image linking Kojima’s face to that of the shooter (via PCGamer). Another user responded to the post with three additional photos of Kojima showing the Metal Gear and Death Stranding designer in a Soviet cap, posing with images of Argentine revolutionary Che Guevara.
french comedian Georges Jordito later shared again these images on Twitter as part of a now-deleted “satiric” post stating that the culprit was Japanese soccer star Keisuke Honda. However, Damien Rieu, a far-right French politician with ties to the country’s nationalist movement, took it seriously and… tweeted images of Kojima with text translated to: “The extreme left kills.” As noted by Vice, the images were subsequently picked up by Greek and Iranian news outlets who incorrectly used the images in their coverage of the murder.
Greek news channel using photos of Hideo Kojima wearing a Soviet ushanka, Joker t-shirt and standing next to a photo of Che Guevara saying he is Shinzo Abe’s killer!? pic.twitter.com/JiwZKtA7pJ
— The Kavernacle (@TheKavernacle) July 8, 2022
Rieu has since deleted his tweet and apologized to Kojima, noting, “I naively took a joke for information.” The Greek outlet, which featured an image of Kojima in a broadcast, pulled its segment from YouTube, while the Iranian newspaper also corrected the image it used in its report.