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Kojima Productions Breaks Its Silence On Assassination Hoax

Typically, Hideo Kojima being in the news is only a good thing. Fans love the creator's many projects, like the "Metal Gear Solid" series and "Death Stranding," a game that simply defies. Over the years, Kojima's cryptic Instagram posts and tweets have become a sort of game for gamers who want to discern what mystery project the director might be working on. Of course, now fans know that Kojima is working on a new game with Xbox, which he and Xbox announced would test the limits of what Microsoft's technology is capable of, as well as "Death Stranding 2," which will reunite him with frequent collaborator Norman Reedus.

The point is that Kojima is a well-known and beloved creator within the video game industry, which is why it's so bizarre that he's found himself (through no fault of his own) in the center of a horrifying event. Though Kojima is famous for weighing in on all kinds of media, unfortunately, he's now involved in a situation he never wished to comment on. Somehow, a viral meme has placed Kojima at the scene of a crime, despite the fact that he was not involved in the slightest. The meme showed Kojima as the suspect in an assassination case, which led to a series of escalating reactions, Here's what happened and how Kojima Productions officially responded.

Kojima falsely accused

Kojima was trending on Twitter for an awful reason last week. After the assassination of Shinzo Abe, the former Prime Minister of Japan, a meme emerged alleging Hideo Kojima was the gunman responsible for the crime, as some people online joked that the murderer resembled Kojima himself (per Kotaku). After the meme gained traction online, some actual news stations picked up the story and ran with it, believing that Kojima had actually been identified as the assassin. 

One Greek news outlet ran the story unironically, and the misinformation spread from there. Eventually, French politician Damien Rieu further used Kojima's image to perpetuate the false reports. Interestingly, none of the false reports named specifically Kojima as the murderer, but simply used a photo of him in the belief that it was an image of the killer.  While the propagation of the meme by both the news media and Rieu may have ultimately been the result of a misunderstanding of how the internet works, Kojima Productions has responded to the controversy, weighing in bluntly on the events.

The official Kojima Productions Twitter account posted a simple note on July 9, writing that it "strongly condemns the spread of fake news and rumors that convey false information. We do not tolerate such libel and will consider taking legal action in some cases." After the tweet, Kojima Productions continued its regular habit of retweeting fan art and mentions of its games elsewhere online, moving on from the defamatory story. Regardless, the tweet garnered over 1,000 comments from fans, continuing the discussion of their favorite creator's legacy and his history of predicting the future through his games.

This isn't the first time this has happened

Misinformation and the spread of information through technology is something Kojima has tackled in his work before, and fans weren't shy about pointing out the similarities between his situation and one of his favorite topics. One gamer tweeted, "Kojima literally created a video game in 2001 about the dangers of spreading misinformation in the digital era, and now he's being falsely accused by multiple countries' news media of assassinating japan's former pm because of some 4chan post." Of course, the "Metal Gear Solid" series deals with other themes, too, but the distortion of information is definitely a core theme that Kojima seems to have strong feelings about. Other gamers shared that the incorrect news had spread to other countries, like Thailand, with official news outlets running the same images of Kojima when reporting on the assassination of Shinzo Abe.

This also isn't the first bit of misinformation about Kojima that's circulated online, and fans took the opportunity to remind the world of some of these instances. One image showed Kojima and actress Ashley Johnson holding a model of BB – or Bridge Baby – from "Death Stranding," with text over the image suggesting that the two were a couple who had chosen to encapsulate their child as a protest for reproductive rights. While it's unclear if the image was originally intended as a joke, it remains that anyone can post something online and have others believe it, regardless of how ludicrous it sounds.

Kojima has not remarked on the incident any further, and hasn't made it clear which parties may he might pursue legal action against if he does choose to escalate the case. However, if Kojima simply wants to let the undeserved controversy die down, he has plenty of projects to keep him busy in the meantime.