Keanu Reeves in Ukrainian Photoshop textbook error

Iconic image showing construction workers eating their lunches on top of a steel beam (girder, crossbeam) 800 feet above ground, at the building site of the RCA Building in Rockefeller Centre Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Keanu Reeves's image was added to this iconic photograph of construction workers in New York City in 1932

A photo of Keanu Reeves has appeared in a Ukrainian history textbook, showing the Canadian actor sitting with construction workers in 1930s New York City.

Although it may look like the Hollywood star has been on an "excellent adventure" through time travel, his image has actually been Photoshopped into the iconic picture.

Published in 2018 in a government-recommended world history textbook for Ukrainian students.

But it was only when one eagle-eyed Twitter user posted it on Monday that the mistake was shared thousands of times.

Image copyright Orion
Image caption The error was published in 2018 in a textbook recommended by the Ministry of Science and Education of Ukraine

"I am not surprised. Keanu Reeves is immortal. His presence at the skyscraper construction site in the 1930s only proves this," one Twitter user joked.

"He possibly worked part-time at the construction site until he became a famous actor," another user joked.

On Facebook, there was criticism of the book's author and designer.

"It is clear now that the pictures for textbooks are taken from Google without any licence," one Facebook user wrote.

What did the author say?

Ihor Shchupak, the author of the textbook and director of Ukrainian Institute for Holocaust Studies, posted a lengthy explanation about the mistake on Facebook.

He said the Photoshopped picture, from a Keanu Reeves meme, had been accidentally selected by a designer - but after it had been brought to his attention, he had decided to leave it in.

The author said it was the first time the actor had been spotted in the picture in two years and thanked Reeves for "drawing attention to studying and history".

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However, the Ukrainian Minister of Education, Hanna Novosad, has expressed her disapproval of the error.

On Facebook she said: "Sadly, I have not seen a single textbook without errors, where the copyright is respected, and the approach to information is logical and helps to learn better."

It's not the first time Ukrainian textbooks have taken an unconventional approach to teaching.

In his Facebook post, Shchupak said there had been a case in the 1990s, when a picture of Roman leader Octavius Augustus had been published in a textbook with the caption "Julius Caesar", with "zero readers" noticing.

While another Facebook user said a map in a geography textbook looked suspiciously like one in the Skyrim video game.


Another actor, Benedict Cumberbatch, appeared on the cover of a Ukrainian literature textbook in 2018.

Image copyright Publishing House Gramota
Image caption Benedict Cumberbatch, as Hamlet, made an appearance in this textbook

But the chief author of that textbook said the decision to include the actor, who has played Hamlet on stage, had been intentional.

She said she wanted children to be interested "not just in classical translations but also in modern adaptations for cinema and theatre."