Dennis Rodman is breaking his admittedly limited silence about his relationship with North Korean despot Kim Jong-Un. In an interview with Du Jour magazine, Rodman claims Kim never executed his uncle, really wants to talk to President Obama, and that America may not let him return next time he visits Pyongyang.
“That little kid is changing North Korea for the better,” Rodman said.
Rodman, who claims he has been in North Korea six times since his first voyage in February 2013, admitted that his first voyage there confused him. “When I first went there it was so… Communist,” he tells the magazine, comparing Pyongyang to the show “The Walking Dead.” By the time Kim Jong-Un had established power, he claimed, “new buildings were popping up and [Kim] is building all these new condos and hotels.”
The interview is full of bizarre details about the leadership of North Korea. For example, Rodman claims Kim and his pals “love American ’80s music. They do karaoke to it.” He says with praise that North Korea has new bowling allies and ski resorts, but also admits that people are starving.
Rodman also takes the time to call the accusations that he duped NBA players into going to North Korea for a Kim Jong-Un birthday exhibition “bullshit.” They all agreed to the absolute truth of what they were going to do, he says, and only began to protest publicly when they saw “we had a camera rolling 24-7 [for a BBC-produced documentary]. [Filming] them saying, ‘Oh, I love North Korea!'”
He also says he is not the only American celebrity interested in going to North Korea. He suggests that Donald Trump once offered him a plane ride to Pyongyang, but then “started to get all weird and shit.” He does not elaborate.
Of Kim’s labor camps, Rodman says he has seen them, but essentially shrugs them off: “You name any country in the world… Which country does not have that shit?” He insists that Kim is trying to change that system, rather than perpetuate it. He laments that the United States does not send someone with him on a mission to see the country.
However, Rodman admits that he is unsettled by what he describes as constant crying on behalf of North Koreans: “You see them crying the whole time. That’s what trips me out about the country. They all cry.” He also adds that he was initially concerned when North Korean officials began speaking to him about politics and insisting they wanted an in with President Obama, but later claims they never acted on those statements and told him they did not want him involved in political matters.
Rodman also claims to have some apprehensions about his own country, almost immediately after shrugging off North Korea’s massive concentration camp system. “The next time I go to North Korea–the fear for me of not coming back… It won’t be because of North Korea,” he claims, adding that he fears America will revoke his passport.
“I just wish people would actually take advantage of the situation that I have, instead of ridiculing me about everything I do,” Rodman says towards the end.