“Harry Potter” author JK Rowling was convinced that she was talking to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on a Zoom call, but she was being pranked by Russian YouTubers.
Rowling believed that she was discussing her charitable efforts in the country, which include personally matching up to £1 million in emergency relief donations through her charity Lumos, but she was really being scammed by Russian comedy duo Vovan and Lexus.
The YouTube pranksters have made a career out of tricking the likes of Kamala Harris, Billie Eilish, Bernie Sanders, Prince Harry, Elton John, and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. They are known supporters of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In a 12-minute video that became increasingly cringe-worthy, they told Rowling that Ukrainian soldiers were writing “Avada Kedavra” – the most dangerous killing curse in the “Harry Potter” franchise – on missiles headed to Russia.
They also claimed that the lightning bolt scar on the series’ titular character’s forehead looked similar to the Russian invasion symbol “Z,” and asked her to change it to the Ukrainian trident symbol instead.
“I will look into that,” Rowling replied. “It might be good for me to do something with that myself on social media because I think that will get into the newspapers.”
They also tried to convince her that Zelensky was using the funds her charity collected to support children towards the purchase of weapons.
“I want to clarify where you are sending the money that Lumos has collected. … We want to buy a lot of weapons and missiles with your money to destroy Russian troops, I hope you are all for that,” they remarked.
“We’ll look after the kids, but I really want Ukraine to have all of the arms it needs,” she responded.
The duo even managed to ask if Hogwarts’ headmaster Albus Dumbledore was gay, without alerting Rowling to the prank. “I said in 2007 that I always saw Dumbledore as gay,” she replied. “It was a big scandal at the time, but I said it.”
“I will never tell this to anyone, hopefully not with a transgender person,” fake Zelensky shot back, which made Rowling chuckle in delight.
The author’s spokesperson had a scathing retort for the “distasteful” hoax. “J.K. Rowling was approached to talk about her extensive charitable work in Ukraine, supporting children and families who have been affected by the current conflict in the region. The video, which has been edited, is a distorted representation of the conversation.”
Watch the prank: