Watch: Russian Pranksters Pose as Zelenskyy on Zoom Call, Grill J.K. Rowling

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Friday June 24, 2022

J.K. Rowling on a Zoom call with Russian pranksters Vovan and Lexus
J.K. Rowling on a Zoom call with Russian pranksters Vovan and Lexus  (Source:Screenshot/YouTube)

Russian pranksters posed as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on a Zoom call with author J.K. Rowling in which they harped on Harry Potter and asked: "Is Dumbledore gay?" and "Who did he sleep with?"

A report from IndieWire detailed that Rowling "was the most recent target of Russian comedy duo Vovan and Lexus in a new video taking aim at Rowling's charity work in Ukraine."

"Rowling's Lumos charity has been actively providing aid to children and families in the Zhytomyr region of Ukraine," IndieWire said. "The pranksters encouraged Rowling to fund weapons instead of supplies."

Noted IndieWire: "Vovan and Lexus are famous for prank-calling celebrities like Elton John, Prince Harry, Billie Eilish, and Kamala Harris."

The report says that Rowling, believing she was speaking to Zelenskyy, entertained the idea of changing Harry Potter's zig-zag scar into a "Ukrainian trident."

The video also shows her agreeing that the music of Tchaikovsky should perhaps be banned, and reacting to the suggestion that Russian actor Aleksandr Kuznetsov, who appears in the latest "Fantastic Beasts" movie, should personally face sanctions.

Throwing her hands up, Rowling said, "Yes, 'Fantastic Beasts' has been a very interesting experience."

"Vovan and Lexus added that they were writing the killing curse from the 'Harry Potter' books, 'Avada Kedavra,' on Ukrainian missiles," the IndieWire report recounted. "We read 'Harry Potter' to the soldiers in the battalion...just don't read them passages about half-breeds," the comedian posing as Zelenskyy said. "They are nationalists and do not like such people," they said.

The Rowling camp decried the prank, said The Hollywood Reporter.

"The author's spokesperson called the hoax 'distasteful,'" THR said, "and noted, '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.'"

About eight-and-a-half minutes into the video, Rowling is asked, "Is Dumbledore gay? I won't tell anyone! And who did he sleep with?"

"I said in 2007 that I always saw Dumbledore as gay," Rowling responds. "And it was a big scandal at the time that I said it. So I still — yeah, that's the way I see him."

"I will never tell this to anyone," Rowling's interlocutor assures her, before going on to express the hope that Dumbledore did not sleep "with any transgender person," a jibe at which Rowling seems to laugh.

The comedian posing as Zelenskyy then introduces his "team," whom he claims are "hereditary witches" and "real wizards."

"I can see that," Rowling replies. "I can tell. I'm qualified to say."

Watch the video below.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.