Fox is coming under fire for a segment on Joseph Stalin's vacation house that some deemed too light-hearted

  • Fox Sports 1 aired a segment during the World Cup on Monday that toured Joseph Stalin's vacation house.
  • The segment began, "Think what you will about Joseph Stalin," before showing Stalin's "dacha" which was designed to protect him from assassination attempts.
  • Many people were critical of the segment for being too light-hearted about the former Soviet dictator.


Fox Sports 1 aired a segment during the World Cup on Monday that toured former Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin's vacation house, or "dacha," that many felt was too light-hearted.

"Think what you will about Joseph Stalin, but there's no denying this was one of the most formidable figures in human history," reporter Sergey Gordeev began the segment.

The two-and-a-half-minute segment, which was produced by National Geographic, went on to tour Stalin's home in Sochi, which was painted green to blend in with the surrounding forest, had no rugs so Stalin could hear anyone sneaking up on him, and had a bulletproof couch, where he used to watch Charlie Chaplin movies. The piece noted that Stalin lived in constant fear of assassination.

The segment included the anchor playing on Stalin's old pool table and going into his old office, which included a life-like replica of Stalin.

Related: See inside Stalin's hometown: 

12 PHOTOS
Josef Stalin's hometown is still dedicated to him
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Josef Stalin's hometown is still dedicated to him
Nazi Stefanishvili, a 73-year-old retired economist, poses for a portrait in a room dedicated to Stalin at her home in Gori, Georgia, December 6, 2016. "Every morning I go to the room to say good morning to Stalin... I take part in every occasion marking the anniversary of his birthday or death," said Stefanishvili. "I have paintings, a lot of books about Stalin, busts, old newspapers, souvenirs. Most I bought, others were gifts; some were even found in the garbage." REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili 
Retired economist Otar Chigladze, 82, poses for a portrait at his home in Gori, Georgia, December 6, 2016. "I traveled a lot around the USSR and never missed a chance to buy Stalin memorabilia. I would earn well and could allow myself to do so," Chigladze said. REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili 
Retired librarian Tsitsino Tsintsadze, 77, poses for a portrait at her home in Tbilisi, Georgia, November 29, 2016. "I have portraits of Stalin, books about him, souvenirs. Some I bought, some were given to me. My relatives and friends know about my love of Stalin and often gift me memorabilia," Tsintsadze said. REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili 
Jiuli Sikmashvili (C), 77, a leader of the United Communist Party of Georgia, poses among other activists before a portrait at the party office in Tbilisi, Georgia, November 30, 2016. "I cannot say how many people support us but we have regional offices all around Georgia," said Sikmashvili. "Unfortunately the youth don't want to join our party, so our members are mostly elderly people." REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili 
Retired engineer Guram Kardanakhishvili, 86, poses for a portrait at his home where he lives alone in Tbilisi, Georgia, November 25, 2016. "I have been a fan of Stalin since school," Kardanakhishvili said. "He cared for his people. He is very popular among older people because life was better under his rule, there were lower prices and higher salaries but the younger don't know about that." REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili 
Retired driver Ushangi Davitashvili, 86, poses for a portrait at his home in Tbilisi, Georgia, November 22, 2016. "Stalin saved the world from fascism. He cared about people. Under his rule there was no unemployment. We had free education and healthcare. He was a great man," Davitashvili said. REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili
Retired accountant Olga Danelia, 62, poses for a portrait at her home in Rustavi, Georgia, November 28, 2016. Danelia is a Communist Party leader in her town. "Nowadays there are two types of people: those who love Stalin and others who hate him. We have to tell them the truth," Danelia said. "There were tough times, a lot of enemies around. Despite this, Stalin managed to build the country. I think he deserves to be remembered lovingly. We have to teach this to our youth, in schools, in the media." REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili 
Levan Gongadze, 87, poses for a portrait at his home in Tbilisi, Georgia, November 28, 2016. "I have been a fan of Stalin all my life, but there was a time when I almost changed my mind. It was after the 20th Congress of the Communist Party (of the Soviet Union in 1956) when Nikita Krushchev denounced the personality cult and dictatorship of Josef Stalin. But later I realised they weren't right," Gongadze said. REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili 
Retired railway worker Suliko Berdzenishvili, 82, poses for a portrait at his home in Tbilisi, Georgia, November 25, 2016. "I am a fan of his since childhood. I own portraits and books about Stalin. Most of them I bought myself, some I got as gifts," said Berdzenishvili. "I go to Stalin's hometown of Gori every year to mark his birthday." REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili 
Retired builder Shalva Didebashvili, 78, poses for a portrait at his home in Mtskheta, Georgia, November 29, 2016. "What Jesus Christ is for many religious people, Stalin is the same for me," Didebashvili said. REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili 
Retired builder Vasili Sidamonidze, 70, poses for a portrait at his home in Gori, Georgia, December 6, 2016. "Unfortunately, Stalin is not popular nowadays. Our people don't respect him. Only we, members of the (Communist) Party, respect him," Sidamonidze said. "I always try to attend Stalin's birthday anniversaries in Gori. Unfortunately many people don't want to join us even if they live nearby. They look at us from their windows." REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili 
Natia Babunashvili, 40, an unemployed mother of two, poses for a portrait with her children Tamuna (R), 14, and Giorgi, 13, at her home in Tbilisi, Georgia, November 24, 2016. "My father was a party boss in one of the regions of Soviet Georgia and he taught me to love Stalin from childhood," Babunashvili said. "I tell my children of my childhood during Soviet times...how good my life was, how happy I was in the USSR. They form their own opinions but they share my views for now." REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili 
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The segment immediately drew criticism around the internet. Deadspin ran a post with the headline, "Weird FS1 Segment: Say What You Will About Joseph Stalin, But He Had A Sick House."

Yahoo's post on the segment read: "It's hard to have a conversation about Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin without using the word 'murderer.' During his 30 years in power, he had hundreds of thousands of people executed while millions of others died in gulags or from famine. But during its World Cup coverage on Monday, Fox found a way to talk about Stalin and leave out all that murder and repression stuff."

Several Twitter users expressed confusion and frustration, too.

Fox Sports did not immediately respond to a statement request from Business Insider.

The entire segment can be seen here >

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