Oliver Stone Clashes With Stephen Colbert and ‘Late Show’ Audience Over Putin

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Director Oliver Stone stopped by The Late Show With Stephen Colbert to promote his documentary The Putin Interviews. Stone spent several hours interviewing Russian President Vladimir Putin and his overall impression of the leader was extremely positive.

When Stone was describing the former KGB spymaster and current Russian leader, he said “He’s been through a lot. He’s been insulted and abused.” This drew groans and boos from the audience.

Since Stone claimed to have rigorously researched Putin, Colbert asked “Anything about him negative you found? Anything? Anything?” But the director stuck to his claim that Putin was a stand-up guy and great leader.

To help move the conversation along, Colbert pointed out, “Putin is an oppressive leader of his country who suppresses the free press and arrests his enemies.” And since Stone is a major advocate for the Constitution, particularly the First Amendment, Colbert said, “That’s not something that I as an American or member of the press can respect and I’m surprised that you do respect that.”

Stone responded to Colbert’s challenge saying, “Well, you know I’ve always been for free speech.” But the director still defended Putin saying, “Listen, no question, he’s a social conservative in that way.” This drew laughs from the audience and caused Stone to ask, “I don’t know why you are laughing?” Colbert answered for the audience saying, “Because it seems like a mild description, that’s why they’re laughing.”

The Late Show With Stephen Colbert airs weeknights at 11:35 p.m. on CBS. 

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