Author and filmmaker Gonzalo Lira a.k.a. Coach Red Pill has been arrested by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) on Friday, May 5, 2023, from his home in Kharkiv, Ukraine. The authorities have accused the 55-year-old of mongering pro-Russian propaganda.
SBU have asserted that Lira is responsible for producing content that justifies the Putin-led Russian aggression against their country.
Gonzalo Lira was born in Burbank, California but raised in both the United States and Ecuador, and studied in Chile. He holds dual citizenship in the United States and Chile. He is known for his controversial takes, especially about the Russia-Ukraine war, on his YouTube Channel Coach Red Pill.
Ukrainian authorities had previously arrested Gonzalo Lira on April 15, 2022
Lira is known for his thriller books and movies. In 1997, Lira published a book titled Tomáh Errázurih and a year later wrote and produced a short film, So Kinky. He is best remembered for his book Acrobat which was adapted into a film in the same year. In 2006 he moved to Chile where he co-wrote, produced, and directed Catalina’s Kidnapping.
After a brief blogging stint, Lira moved to Kharkiv, Ukraine, where he started his YouTube channel. His content focused on giving dating advice as well as anti-feminist commentary. Some of Lira's videos included Never Date a Single Mother, and Never Date A Girl Over 25. However, Lira deleted all his videos after four years and started posting under his real name.
In 2022, at the start of Russia's occupation of Ukraine, he shared a video that addressed the war. He stated:
"Although Ukraine may win the propaganda war, Russia wins the real war by capturing territory. Already 15% of Ukraine's territory is under the control of the Russian army."
In his videos, Gonzalo Lira has insulted the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, and defended Russias's attack on the country and blamed Ukraine for the attack. He has even stated that the country would flourish under Russian rule.
This eventually led to his abduction by the SBU for a week in April last year. However, he was let go after a public outcry against his arrest.
On May 5, the SBU announced the arrest of an unnamed blogger, which the Daily Beast later shared was Gonzalo Lira. Footage making its round on social media shows the raid and his subsequent arrest.
Netizens raise concern for the author-filmmaker as news of his arrest spread
As news of Gonzalo Lira's arrest spread, netizens were left worried for the 55-year-old. Here are some comments seen online.
According to the Daily Beast, Gonzalo Lira was charged with wartime propaganda under 436-2 of Ukraine’s Criminal Code. He faces up to five years in jail if found guilty.