Dennis Rodman, NBA legend and pop culture enigma, has come under a lot of fire as of late due to both praising and defending North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation have created a petition on change.org to get the Hall of Fame forward removed from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. North Korea has a history of mistreatment of its own people but especially American tourists, whether through torture or forced hard labor.
The most recent incident came with the death of Otto Warmbier, an American college student who was imprisoned and force into labor in while visiting the country for trying to remove a propaganda banner. He had been held captive for 17 months and spent the last year in a coma. Brain scans show that Warmbier suffered severe damage to his brain while in North Korea. Rodman has been known as a constant advocate for Jong-un, often referring to him as his “friend for life” and making 5 different trips to North Korea. His most recent trip occurred just hours after Warmbier was released.
While his trip has been confirmed by officials from both Washington and Pyongyang to have had nothing to do with the college student, petitioners claim North Korea sought to bring the celebrity to the country in an attempt to distract people from the wrong being done behind the scenes. Representatives from the Basketball Hall of Fame have yet to make a comment.