Blaire Erskine (l) Anthony walker (r)

@blaire.erskine/Instagram pbs/anthony walker

‘An attention-seeking exercise’: Comedians feud online after one goes to Ukraine to volunteer

Some say Anthony Walker is a hero. Others believe he's misguided.


Claire Goforth


Posted on Mar 22, 2022

Comedian Anthony Walker received international praise for traveling to Ukraine to assist in the war effort late last month. Media around the world covered his journey from Canada to the war-torn nation defending against an unprovoked Russian invasion. One of the many, many stories heralded Walker as the “hero who flew 5,000 miles.”

To many, Walker is an inspiration and his decision to volunteer is the ultimate act of bravery and selflessness. The comedian best known for satirical videos trolling conservatives has no direct connection to Ukraine or the war, plus he’s the father of three young children.

Others see it quite differently. One of Walker’s critics is fellow comedian Blaire Erskine, who writes for Jimmy Kimmel Live! After news of his trip circulated, Erskine urged him to reconsider.

“Please don’t do this,” Erskine initially tweeted in response to Walker’s tweet about buying a drone. “It’s honorable that you went to offer your services as a medic, but you don’t need a drone to be a medic.”

Erskine added that she has family in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, and admonished Walker not to photograph “vulnerable” refugees as he’s “not a news organization.” She also expressed disappointment in Walker for tweeting about unsuccessfully trying to get verified by Twitter amid his travels.

A day later, Erskine urged Walker to stop his “reckless” behavior because some people were following his lead. “Don’t mislead them,” she added.

Walker’s supporters descended on her over the tweets. After a few days’ absence from Twitter, Walker logged in to urge his followers to stop harassing her.

“Leave her alone, please. Just move on,” he wrote on March 9.

Erskine was unmoved. “You should apologize to me directly,” she replied. “You sent your goons after me for questioning you and should be ashamed.”

Neither Walker nor Erskine responded to requests for comment sent via direct message on Twitter and Instagram, respectively.

His request appears to have gone unheeded. Erskine posted a tearful video about Walker’s supporters sending her countless death and rape threats, which was covered by the Damage Report in a video referring to Walker as the “Ukraine clout chaser.”

The feud intensified over the following days.

Subsequent tweets, such as one in which he claimed to have shut down an organized crime ring at a border station with his “jarhead” companion, further fueled both praise and skepticism. While many praised him and contributed to the cause, others also took issue with Walker soliciting donations.

“More than 20,000 volunteer soldiers from 52 countries signed up to fight in Ukraine. Only ‘1’ asking for personal donations on Twitter,” tweeted one.

Last week, Erskine posted a news report that she said shows Walker leaving the foreign legion to head east into Kyiv, the nation’s capital.

“Some people seem to have the impression that they just get here, we’re going to give them a rifle and send them right away,” one person said in the report. “That’s not the way it works.”

The report added that people without military experience were “being asked not to come.” Walker was rejected by the Canadian military over his low blood platelet count, the Daily Beast reports.

On Friday, Walker penned and swiftly deleted a lengthy thread expressing his frustration. According to screenshots circulating on Twitter, he claimed to be with a special forces group in Kyiv, but said they didn’t have weapons or armor.

“We’re looking to get to the front lines but apparently aren’t needed?” he wrote, tagging Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. “We don’t understand this.”

“So President @ZelenskyyUA, should we go home?” he added.

In Body Image

Walker later appeared disillusioned and ready to leave.

“Well, we tried to help. We’ve literally asked everyone we’ve met if we could do *anything*,” he tweeted.

He added that he was going to log off and no longer engage with the media.

To Erskine, his tweets were a sort of vindication.

“Nah, you tried to help yourself,” she replied. “Hope it was worth it. Glad you won’t be anywhere near my family over there. Hope you get your blue check!”

Their followers have continued battling online.

On Monday, Walker’s wife tweeted that he’s “still in Kyiv” and “is helping.”

“His priorities are with people over there not Twitter and haters,” she wrote. “He is using the donations over there. When he is done over there he will address the ‘accusations’ he is not grifting!”

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*First Published: Mar 22, 2022, 2:02 pm CDT