Flashback: Dennis Rodman once defended North Korea holding an American hostage

Flashback: Dennis Rodman once defended North Korea holding an American hostage

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WASHINGTON — Dennis Rodman’s emotional interview from Singapore on CNN Monday night has gone viral, with many online suggesting that it perfectly represents the strangeness of the era.

The exchange featured some compelling highlights, including Rodman’s claims that he was subjected to death threats after visiting North Korea, was brushed off by former President Barack Obama but was embraced by the Trump White House.

However, it wasn’t the first time Rodman got emotional while discussing North Korea with CNN’s Chris Cuomo.

In January 2014, Rodman appeared on CNN from North Korea and appeared to vigorously defend dictator Kim Jong Un holding Kenneth Bae, an American citizen, hostage for nearly two years.

“If you understand what Kenneth Bae did… Do you understand what Kenneth Bae did in this country?” a visibly distressed Rodman said.

Cuomo noted that North Korea has not announced the charges against Bae and Rodman declined to clarify before proceeding to yell.

In a follow-up statement, Rodman apologized to Bae’s family and to Cuomo, saying that he had been drinking prior to the television showdown.

Bae was an Evangelical Christian missionary who organized religious tourism trips into North Korea’s Special Economic Zone. After being detained in November 2012, Bae was sentenced to 15 years in prison. North Korean state media reported that he was trying to topple the Kim regime.

Bae and an additional American hostage, Matthew Todd Miller, were released in November 2014.

Rodman then told TMZ that he was responsible for Bae’s release, but provided no definitive evidence.

Two years after arriving back in the U.S., Bae thanked Rodman for the initial interview.

“Because of his rant, the media attention on my plight was increased,” Bae told CNN.

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