A college friend of the American man imprisoned in North Korea has slammed former NBA star Dennis Rodman for reneging on promises to help win his release.
Bobby Lee, a close friend of the imprisoned man, Kenneth Bae, said Rodman had "folded like a cheap tent" during his most recent trip to North Korea. After promising that he would appeal to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un for Bae's release, Rodman changed course and has begun saying that it was not his job to rescue the American, who has been sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for "hostile acts" against the North Korean government. Lee accused Rodman of using Bae's plight to win publicity, while Bae's family and friends were left "heartbroken."
In a statement released via Bae's family, Lee said:
Dennis Rodman tweeted to the world that he would step up and bring American citizen Kenneth Bae back home from a North Korean prison. Rodman claimed that Obama couldn't do it. But he could. Then he folded like a cheap tent.
"Guess what? That's not my job to ask about Bae," an angry Rodman said to the media after smoking cigars with the North Korean leader Kim Jung Un. How nice.
What really happened? Rodman used Bae's misfortune to elevate his eroding Hollywood brand. He took advantage of Bae's setback to stage his own comeback. All the free press he received around the world would make Justin Bieber blush. And he is the only one laughing all the way to the bank while Bae's family and friends—and the American people—are left heartbroken.
Rodman says he wants to introduce North Koreans to the world. North Koreans will take one look at him and ask, "what planet is this guy from?" We can't think of a better argument for Kim Jung Un's policies of complete isolation from the rest of the world than Dennis Rodman.
Rodman, there's a real person's life at stake. You've gone too far.
They call Rodman the Worm. Starting today, I ask the American people to start calling Rodman by his new nickname: Cheap Tent.
Bobby Lee, Portland, Oregon
Kenneth Bae's Old College Buddy from University of Oregon
Rodman gave a press conference last week in which he announced that he would be taking a team of former NBA stars over to North Korea for an exhibition tournament — though he won't be coaching the DPRK's Olympic basketball team, as he had claimed.
Bae, a Christian missionary and tour guide, has been imprisoned in North Korea since November of last year.
Rosie Gray is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, D.C. Gray reports on politics and foreign policy.
Contact Rosie Gray at email@example.com.
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