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Stephen Colbert Challenges Oliver Stone’s Credulous Defense of Vladimir Putin

Academy Award-winning director says Russian leader has been 'abused' by the press.

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Stephen Colbert put the laughs on hold during a Monday night interview with Academy Award-winning writer and director Oliver Stone.

Stone, who spent more than 20 hours with Russian president Vladimir Putin for Showtime’s upcoming Putin Interviews couldn’t find anything negative to say about the leader who suppresses dissent, jails his enemies, and is suspected of having journalists killed—and not even the late night host’s probing questions could change his mind.

“[Putin’s] been through a lot. He’s been insulted and abused…abused in the press, in the media,” Stone said, to groans, boos, and laughter from Colbert’s live audience. He also said he didn’t believe with conviction that Putin had ever killed a man, and didn’t pursue that line of questioning during his interviews.

“Anything about him negative that you found?” Colbert persisted.

Stone didn’t directly reply. See the tense exchange for yourself above.