Remember Agent Mulder from the X-Files? American actor David Duchovny, who played Mulder, is now embroiled in the hostile dialogue between the US and Russia. It's all because he played off his Russian-sounding name in a new ad for Russian beer.
"This is the country where I was born and raised, but there's another country," Duchovny says in the ad. "The one where I got my family name."
He goes on to imagine what his life would be like if he'd grown up in Russia — He's a cosmonaut; He's a hockey player; He quotes patriotic Russian verse; He grows a moustache, plays bass, and "sings" in a Russian band.
“Being Russian, I’d have many things to be proud of,” he says.
The seemingly harmless advertisment, which came out before the downing of Flight 17 over Eastern Ukraine, has riled up Russians on social media. After being uploaded on July 25, the ad became one of Russian Twitter's top trending topics and has been watched over 2 million times on YouTube.
Some Russians praise Duchovny for expressing what America really thinks about Russia while others condemn him for becoming a political pawn in the service of Vladimir Putin.
GlobalPost.com, an American website, called the ad "poorly-timed" and "nationalistic."
And in a twist worthy of the X-Files, Duchnovy revealed some interesting information about his heritage back in April:
I grew up thinking I was Russian only to find recently that I've been Ukrainian all along. Never too late to change.
— David Duchovny (@davidduchovny) April 4, 2014
Amidst all the controversy and confusion surrounding his ethnicity and motives, he released the following statement to TMZ on July 28:
"I am proud of my Russian, Ukrainian, Scottish and Polish heritage as I am proud of my American heritage. But being proud of one's ancestry is not a political statement on any current government or public policies. In retrospect, and in light of recent tragic events, I can now see the potential for misunderstanding and hope people will understand."
So, "the truth is out there."