Fact Check: Zelenskyy Did NOT Put Bounty On Tucker Carlson's Head

Fact Check

  • by: Uliana Malashenko
Fact Check: Zelenskyy Did NOT Put Bounty On Tucker Carlson's Head No Report

Did Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy post a monetary reward for capturing the former Fox News host Tucker Carlson? No, that's not true: As of February 9, 2024, there were no credible reports about that. The claim shared on social media misleads about the discovery of Carlson's name on the Ukrainian website Myrotvorets (Peacekeeper).

The claim appeared in a video (archived here) on Instagram on February 7, 2024. Its caption said:

Zelensky puts a bounty on @tuckercarlson because he interviewed Vladimir Putin...

The video's male narrator added:

There's something to this interview that the world governments do not want you to see.

Here is what it looked like on Instagram at the time of the writing of this fact check:

Screen Shot 2024-02-09 at 12.27.29 PM.png
(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Fri Feb 9 17:27:29 2024 UTC)

Lead Stories searched the key terms "Zelenskyy," "Tucker Carlson" and "bounty" on Google News in English (here), Ukrainian (here and here) and Russian (here) but found no relevant articles. The closest match, unrelated to Carlson, discussed a monetary reward offered by a Russian-born San Francisco entrepreneur for Putin's arrest.

A search for Carlson's name across Ukrainian government websites (archived here) led to multiple publications describing his work as "misinformation."

But there were no bounty announcements.

The website of the Ukrainian president does not refer to Carlson at all:

Screen Shot 2024-02-09 at 7.38.23 PM.png

(Source: Google screenshot taken on Fri Feb 9 00:38:23 2024 UTC)

Russian mainstream news coverage of Carlson's interview with Putin (archived here) did mention that the name of the former Fox News host is on the Ukrainian website called Myrotvorets (or Peacekeeper in Ukrainian), a site that posts lists of those it deems "enemies of Ukraine." (Note: A war casualties photo on the Myrotvorets home page on February 9, 2024, may disturb some viewers.)

Myrotvorets describes itself as a non-state independent project (archived here.) Over the years, however, it caused several controversies related to publishing personal information of foreign correspondents covering Ukraine (archived here) and alleged undisclosed ties with the Ukrainian secret services (archived here and here.)

Yet this website does not post bounties -- on behalf of the Ukrainian government or anyone else.

Furthermore, the publication date of the entry including Carlson in the database predates his interview with Putin. The bottom of that page (archived here) clearly states, using the European date format, that it was published on June 8, 2023.

Lead Stories double-checked the date by searching a fragment of the Myrotvorets page link on Google. It returned the same date, as seen in the screenshot below:

Screen Shot 2024-02-09 at 2.59.44 PM.png

(Source: Google screenshot taken on Fri Feb 9 19:59:44 2024 UTC)

The earliest mention of Carlson's inclusion into the database that Lead Stories found was a post (archived here) on a Miami-based account on X, formerly known as Twitter. It was published on February 7, 2024, but did not mention Putin's interview.

On the same day, the post on X was cited by InfoWars, a website known for spreading conspiracies and profiting from them (archived here.) The InfoWars article implied that Carson's inclusion in the Ukrainian database was some kind of retaliation for his interview with Putin.

On February 8, 2024, the Russian state-funded news agency RIA Novosti published an article (archived here) about that, too. However, even RIA Novosti did not put the date of the Myrotvorets entry anywhere near Carlson's interview with Putin. It reported that Carlson's name was added to the database on June 8 2023.

Other Lead Stories fact checks of claims about the Russian-Ukrainian war can be found here.

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  Uliana Malashenko

Uliana Malashenko is a New York-based freelance writer and fact checker.

Read more about or contact Uliana Malashenko

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