Fact Check: Did Charlie Hebdo Publish an Issue Mocking Volodymyr Zelensky?

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (Photo by Genya Savilov/AFP/Getty Images.)

A fake, mock-up cover image of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo is circulating online. The fabricated cover is of a supposed special holiday issue of the publication and contains a cartoon depiction of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stealing gifts from the infant Jesus at the scene of the nativity. A speech bubble below Zelensky reads “Stop whining, we need it!”   

No such edition of the magazine exists. 

Charlie Hebdo came to international attention under tragic circumstances when its offices were attacked by two Islamist terrorists in January 2015. Twelve people were murdered and 11 injured in the attack. In recent weeks and months fake covers of the magazine featuring anti-Ukrainian propaganda have been circulating in pro-Putin online spaces.  

The image in question claims to show the cover of issue No. 1588 of Charlie Hebdo, allegedly published on December 22, 2022. The official Charlie Hebdo website shows that the most recent issue of the magazine is No. 1587, published on December 21, 2022, and featuring a cover cartoon of Lionel Messi hoisting the World Cup trophy aloft. Issue No. 1588 is scheduled for publication December 28, and features a “Man of the Year 2022” cover cartoon and not an image of Zelensky. Neither does an archived version of the website as it looked on December 22 show any trace of the image in question. 

Charlie Hebdo has been contacted by The Dispatch for comment. 

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