This week, a video began circulating around the Ukrainian and Russian Internet. It showed what appeared to be a recent episode of American comedy classic "The Simpsons," with its famous title sequence.
It became very popular: For example, this version of the video, just one of many, has been liked over 600 times on the Russian social network VK:
There are two unusual things about this video. First, as the shot sweeps over Springfield on its way to the Simpson family home, an unusual billboard can be seen. It says "Horse ride in Crimea," and shows a familiar-looking man, bare-chested and riding a horse.
If that wasn't clear enough, soon we're at "The Simpsons'" famous "blackboard" scene. Before each episode starts, Bart Simpson is shown writing a different message on the blackboard. Here, he is shown writing "Putin Huylo."
Putin, of course, refers to the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. No surprises there. But that second word, "Huylo," is where it gets controversial.
"Путін хуйло," alternatively transliterated as "Putin Khuilo" or "Putin Huylo," has become one of the rallying cries for anti-Russian protesters in Ukraine. It's an offensive term which means something of the lines of "Putin is a d---head!"
Understandably, the Russian political world isn't too pleased with the use of the term. In June, Russian officials complained when Ukraine’s interim foreign minister, Andrii Deshchytsia, was captured on film using the term.
This simple online video has been picked up by a number of outlets in the region. One major Ukrainian television channel picked it up, though one of Ukraine's largest Web sites noted that it hadn't been able to confirm its authenticity yet. The Post reached out to Fox Television, which said that this clip had been doctored. No, Bart Simpson did not call Putin a "huylo," and no, there is no Crimea billboard in Springfield.
Weirdly, this isn't the first time that "The Simpsons" have been used to criticize Russia. Earlier this year, Vox's Max Fisher (our former colleague) pointed out that a (real) episode of The Simpson's from 1998 appeared to have predicted the Ukraine crisis:
And back in 2012, a Simpsons-style cartoon was used to show Putin's 12 years in power over the course of two minutes: