A racist joke could land some outlets in legal trouble.
Kojima Productions

On Friday morning, former Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, was assassinated while giving a campaign speech for upcoming elections. Abe was shot twice in the back from an individual that created a homemade gun. The assassin, Tetsuya Yamagami, was arrested at the scene.

Following the assassination, trolls on 4chan's /pol/ created a racist joke that said developer Hideo Kojima was the assassin that murdered Shinzo Abe. It didn't take long for the "joke" to leave 4Chan and find its way onto broader social media platforms. A French comedian, Georges Jordito, tweeted out the image linking Kojima to the assassin, but with the intent of mocking the joke (these tweets have since been deleted by Jordito). The comedian mocked the "joke" by saying that Kojima was also a famous soccer player and a legendary player for AC Milan.

Of course, with this being the Internet it was quickly picked up the far-right French politician Damien Rieu. Rieu took the joke as a fact and spread the misinformation to his followers. In the hours following Rieu's false statements, he has since apologized but the damage was done and continued to spread.

A Greek news channel quickly picked up on the "story" that claimed Kojima was the assassin. The outlet showed photos of Kojima where he was wearing a Russian ushanka, one where he was wearing a Joker t-shirt, and another where Kojima was standing next to a photo of Che Guevara. The video of the Greek news broadcast has since been removed from YouTube.

Following this, an Iranian news outlet also ran a story that said Kojima was the person responsible for the assassination. It has also apparently made its way to so-called news outlets in Brazil.

Following the spread of this misinformation, Kojima Productions released a short statement earlier today through Twitter. The studio says it "strongly condemns the spread of fake news and rumors that convey false information." To that end, they say that they are considering taking legal action in some cases on the grounds of libel.