Hideo Kojima’s game studio has issued a response after fake posts circulated across social media and news outlets that misidentified Kojima as the assassin of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. In a tweet, Kojima Productions says it “strongly condemns the spread of fake news and rumors that convey false information” and “will consider taking legal action in some cases.”
On Friday, a man shot and killed Abe during his speech at a political campaign rally. Police captured the shooter 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 that links Kojima’s face with that of the shooter (via PCGamer). Another user replied to the post with three additional pictures of Kojima that show the Metal Gear and Death Stranding designer in a Soviet cap, as well as posing with images of Argentine revolutionary Che Guevara.
French comedian Georges Jordito later reshared these images on Twitter as part of a now-deleted “satirical” post that said the culprit was Japanese soccer star Keisuke Honda. However, Damien Rieu, a far-right French politician associated with the country’s nationalist movement, took it seriously and tweeted out images of Kojima with text translated to: “The far-left kills.” As pointed out by Vice, the images were then picked up by Greek and Iranian news outlets that mistakenly used the pictures in their coverage of the assassination.
Rieu has since deleted his tweet and issued an apology to Kojima, noting “I naively took a joke for information.” The Greek outlet, which included an image of Kojima in a broadcast, took its segment off of YouTube, while the Iranian newspaper has also corrected the image it used in its report.