Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman has lashed out at Morgan Freeman over a video the American actor made for a nonprofit, nonpartisan U.S. organization in which Freeman says the United States is "at war" with Russia and calls for investigations into Moscow’s alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Speaking in Moscow on September 20, spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Kremlin doesn’t take Freeman’s video seriously.
Peskov claimed the Kremlin does not consider the video to be a threat and then launched a personal attack on Freeman -- calling him "a victim of emotionally charged, self-exalted status."
Peskov told reporters in Moscow that "many performing artists easily succumb to becoming victims of emotional strain with no real information about the real state of things."
Putin has selectively embraced Western showbiz celebrities in the past, granting Russian citizenship to Western performing artists and sports figures who have publicly supported the Kremlin’s foreign policy agenda.
In November, Putin personally handed a new Russian passport to American action-film star Steven Seagal following Russia's military seizure and illegal annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in 2014.
That move came after Seagal called Putin "one of the great living world leaders" and performed with his blues band in the Russian-occupied Ukrainian territory.
French actor Gerard Depardieu, who had previously buddied up to Putin in a high-profile public appearance, was given a Russian passport in 2013 so he could avoid tax-rate increases in France and become a tax exile.
Putin also gave Russian citizenship to U.S. boxer Roy Jones Jr after sipping tea with him in Crimea, and to U.S mixed martial artist Jeff Monson.
Peskov said Freeman’s video "can hardly be taken seriously" and claimed that it had "no real informational basis. It’s purely emotion."
In the video released on September 19 by the Committee To Investigate Russia, Freeman said the United States has "been attacked" by Russia and is now “at war.”
"Imagine this movie script," Freeman said. “A former KGB spy, angry at the collapse of his motherland, plots a course for revenge. Taking advantage of the chaos, he works his way up through the ranks of a post-Soviet Russia and becomes president. He establishes an authoritarian regime. Then he sets his sights on his sworn enemy, the United States."
"And like the true KGB spy he is, he secretly uses cyberwarfare to attack democracies around the world," Freeman said. "Using social media to spread propaganda and false information, he convinces people in democratic societies to distrust their media, their political processes, even their neighbors. And he wins."
WATCH: Morgan Freeman On Vladimir Putin
Freeman said: "Vladimir Putin is that spy, and this is no movie script."
He said the United States needs President Donald Trump to "speak directly to us and tell us the truth."
“We need him to sit behind the desk in the Oval Office and say, ‘My Fellow Americans, during this past election, we came under attack by the Russian government. I’ve called on Congress and our intelligence community to use every resource available to conduct a thorough investigation to determine exactly how this happened,’” Freeman said.
Trump has derided as a "witch hunt" investigations by the FBI and several congressional bodies into Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 election and contacts between Trump campaign associates and Russian officials.
The advisory board of the Committee to Investigate Russia includes Hollywood film director Rob Reiner, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow Max Boot, and conservative political commentator Chalie Sykes, according to its website.*
Board members said they felt compelled to act and raise public awareness in the United States about the "gravity" of allegations from U.S. intelligence officials that the Russian state meddled in the 2016 election with a campaign aimed at influencing the outcome of the vote by manipulating public opinion in the United States.
CORRECTION: This article has been amended to correct the names of individuals on the advisory board of the Committee to Investigate Russia.