Till Lindemann, the lead singer of German metal band Rammstein, claims he has been the victim of Russian propaganda, the Deutsche Welle news agency reported Thursday.
The vocalist said that a fake photograph of him wearing a Putin T-shirt has been circulating in the Russian media. The shirt had a picture of a skull, not of the Russian president, according to Lindemann. The photo was taken in Moscow after his band played a show in the capital, Deutsche Welle reported.
Lindemann also said that the Russian media deliberately misquoted him as saying that “[German Chancellor] Angela Merkel cannot boast of having such popularity as Putin,” and that he likes the Russian president for being “a strong leader, not a marionette.”
The Russian media also misreported him as saying, “All these political attacks on your country are unfair.” The vocalist claims that all he said was “Moscow — great city.”
A number of Russian news sites have since printed refutations of their original articles, but not in all their foreign versions.
The photo also showed Lindemann holding an iPhone with a gold-plated bust of Putin emblazoned on the back.
The company that makes these phones, Caviar, did give Lindemann the phone in the photograph but they edited their photo to show him wearing a Putin T-shirt and distributed it on social media. They have since published an apology on their website.
Lindemann has hired a lawyer, and emphasized that he “in principle doesn’t make any political statements.”