Published Dec 03, 2015The freedom to meme is certainly something we take for granted here in North America. In Turkey, for example, a man is facing prison time for comedically comparing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Lord of the Rings character Gollum.
The offending images, available above, humorously (and perhaps accurately) show some striking similarities between Erdogan and the precious-seeking Tolkien creation.
Perhaps the resemblance is a little too real, however, as meme creator Bilgin Ciftci now could face two years in jail. Further, he's already lost his job as a medical doctor.
Adding another layer of absurdity to the story, Lord of the Rings/Hobbit director Peter Jackson has now got involved too. He and Rings screenwriters Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens released a joint statement to Entertainment Weekly where they defended Ciftci, explaining that the images actually compared Erdogan to the charming Gollum alter-ego Smeagol.
"If the images below are in fact the ones forming the basis of this Turkish lawsuit, we can state categorically: None of them feature the character known as Gollum," they said. "All of them are images of the character called Smeagol.
"Smeagol is a joyful, sweet character. Smeagol does not lie, deceive, or attempt to manipulate others. He is not evil, conniving, or malicious — these personality traits belong to Gollum, who should never be confused with Smeagol."
Either way, things are not looking great for jokester Ciftci, who surely regrets his decision to joke around on the Internet. If only there were some sort of ring he could use to disappear for a while...