President Václav Klaus has become a global internet sensation after pocketing a ceremonial pen at a diplomatic press conference, with videos of the incident garnering 1.5 million views and counting on YouTube.
In the wake of the apparent gaffe, both presidents’ spokespeople were quick to point out Klaus had done nothing wrong.
Klaus spokesman Radim Ochvat said that it was “a pen with a logo of the state or office, which presidents and members of their delegation receive during state visits.”
It’s easy to see why this particular writing instrument caught the 69-year-old leader’s eye, as it’s encrusted with semi-precious Chilean lapiz lazuili stones.
Chilean President Sebastian Pinera’s spokeswoman Constanza Cea confirmed the president’s guests are free to take the pens, Associated Press reported.
This hasn’t stopped a Facebook group from being set up with the aim of generating a mass donation of pens, pencils and crayons to present to Prague Castle May 2.
It’s not the first time the Czech president has held such an expensive pen, either. At his swearing-in for his second presidential term in 2008, Klaus was presented with a 18-carat gold pen worth 1 million Kč (around $60,000), Radio Prague reported.
The pen was made especially for Klaus by penmaker Kohinoor, which once supplied the royal palace in Vienna during the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The company said at the time that they decided to make the Presidential Line of pens after another pen-related gaffe at the president’s swearing in five years earlier.
At that time in 2003, the newly-elected president was given a pen that wouldn’t write, and had to search his own pockets for one. Perhaps that explains this past week’s incident.