A video of the Czech president “stealing” a pen on a state visit to Chile has racked up over 3 million views on Youtube and led to a Facebook campaign calling for people to send pens to the beleaguered Vaclav Klaus.
The video clip shows Czech president Klaus admiring a pen (apparently encrusted in jewels) during a press conference with Chilean President Sebastian Pinera.
Klaus is seen to lovingly turn the pen over a few times before concealing it beneath the desk and pocketing it.
Unfortunately for the Czech president, the incident was caught on camera, posted to Youtube and has been watched with mirth around the globe (watch the video below).
Even Czech TV has been in on the joke that the president stole a pen, broadcasting the video with red circles and arrows highlighting the act of pilferage.
There are varying accounts as to the worth of the pen and whether or not it was intended as a gift.
In one version, the pen was ceremonial and encrusted with semiprecious Chilean lapiz lazuli stone.
However, according to a spokesperson for Klaus, the pen was just a cheap gift.
It was, said the Czech president’s people, “a common pen with a logo of the state or office, which presidents and members of their delegation receive during state visits”.
Klaus himself has chipped in, saying it was a ballpoint and not a fountain pen. “All I have to say is, it is not a pen but just a stylus,” he argued.
It looks as though Klaus may have to endure pen jibes for some time to come though. More than 5,000 Czechs have signed up to a Facebook campaign to mail pens to their president.
Klaus was unpopular with some Czechs even before the pen-stealing fiasco. He is strongly opposed to gay marriage and believes it is a myth than humans are responsible for global warning.
Send him some pens we say!
Watch Czech President Vaclav Klaus “stealing” a pen here.