Ukraine Hostage Standoff Ends After President Shares Public Endorsement of Joaquin Phoenix Film

One of the armed man's demands was that President Volodymyr Zelensky publicly endorse 'Earthlings,' a 2005 documentary narrated by Phoenix.

View this video on YouTube

An hours-long standoff in Ukraine centered on an armed man who had taken 13 hostages came to a close after President Volodymyr Zelensky publicly endorsed a Joaquin Phoenix-narrated movie.

The individual in question, identified in a Reutersreport as 44-year-old Maksym Kryvosh, took 13 people hostage on a bus in western Ukraine and said he was armed "with guns and explosives." At one point, per police, Kryvosh—who's said to have expressed "extremist views"—threatened to blow up the bus. He also threatened to detonate an explosive that had allegedly been placed elsewhere in the city of Lutsk.

The Joaquin film that was part of Kryvosh's demands is the 2005 documentary Earthlings, which sees the recent Oscar winner narrating a Moby-soundtracked dive into the animal abuse at the center of many industries around the world.

View this video on YouTube

President Zelensky is said to have talked with Kryvosh for approximately seven to 10 minutes before ultimately agreeing to the Earthlings portion of the hostage-taker's demands, which constituted Zelensky endorsing the documentary. Zelensky agreed, with the caveat that three of the 13 hostages would be released prior to his statement going live.

One of those first three released hostages was a pregnant woman. Following their release, Zelensky shared a brief video to social media in which he expressed support for the film. That video was later deleted. And according toVariety, who cited local publications' reports on the hostage situation, Kryvosh screened Earthlings for those on the bus.

Phoenix, who of course was not involved in any way with any of this, won an Oscar for his performance in the 2019 hit Joker. Also in 2019, he was awarded the Person of the Year distinction by PETA.

Latest in Pop Culture