Fact Check

Did Ian McKellen Visit Lviv, Ukraine?

Social media posts said the "Lord of the Rings" actor traveled to Ukraine in 2022.

Published May 2, 2022

 (Flickr / Gage Skidmore)
Image Via Flickr / Gage Skidmore
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A photograph shows actor Ian McKellen in Lviv, Ukraine, in April 2022.

Fact Check

In April 2022, a photograph circulated on social media that supposedly showed actor Ian McKellen during a visit to Lviv, Ukraine:

Person, Human, Clothing

While this is a genuine photo of McKellen, it was not taken in Ukraine. This photo actually shows the actor outside of The Grapes, a pub in London that is partly owned by McKellen.

McKellen took to Twitter to dispel these rumors, writing that he has "not visited Lviv or elsewhere in Ukraine."

This photograph was first posted online in November 2021. At the time, Maksym Bespalov wrote in a Facebook post that they were outside "The Grapes" with Dumbledore, a fictional wizard character from the "Harry Potter" franchise. (McKellen, who played another famous wizard, Gandalf, in the "Lord of the Rings" movies, is often humorously mistaken for the actor who played Dumbledore.)

Person, Human, Clothing

In April 2022, Bespalov reshared this image and falsely claimed that it actually showed McKellen in Ukraine. When McKellen dispelled that rumor on Twitter, Bespalov replied and apologized for spreading a false rumor.

Several politicians (and a few celebrities) visited Ukraine in 2022 to show support for the country in its struggle against Russia's invasion. In April 2022, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi all visited with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Actors Sean Penn and Angelina Jolie also traveled recently to the country.

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“Angelina Jolie Makes Surprise Ukraine Visit, Meets Children.” AP NEWS, 30 Apr. 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-europe-arts-and-entertainment-angelina-jolie-dff0ef873901e68ee98298ed40a31244.

“Evacuations under Way in Mariupol; Pelosi Visits Ukraine.” AP NEWS, 1 May 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-business-europe-united-nations-evacuations-e4baa53858859d18b73b3c3e09f7d43f.

Haynes, Tom. “All the London Pubs and Restaurants Owned by Mega-Famous Celebs.” MyLondon, 16 Apr. 2022, https://www.mylondon.news/whats-on/food-drink-news/london-pubs-restaurants-owned-celebrities-23660057.

Pulver, Andrew. “Sean Penn Says Ukraine ‘Is Going to Win This Thing.’” The Guardian, 6 Apr. 2022. The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/film/2022/apr/06/sean-penn-says-ukraine-is-going-to-win-this-thing.

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.