‘Borat’ and Sacha Baron Cohen have legal problems all over the place

Borat, the most squeaky and controversial creation of British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, returned with controversy in tow. After putting former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani in an awful lot of trouble, receiving criticism for mocking a Holocaust survivor, and even comments about how he uses “good faith” from Americans during the hasty filming, the film is now faces a boycott that could derail any attempt by the production team to promote the film for the Oscar.

This week, organizations such as the American Association of Kazakhstan publicly requested in a statement a boycott against the possibilities of any promotion of the film with a view to nominations for the Oscar 2021, and even any other award given by associations of journalists or personalities related to the world of entertainment.

The production is not only a mockery of unsuspecting citizens, but also uses the promotion of all kinds of prejudices to achieve “easy and grotesque humor”. As if all of the above were not enough, the petition insists that the film promotes “money laundering, ethnic stereotypes, racism, cultural appropriation and xenophobia.”

It is the most serious request that the film starring British Sacha Baron Cohen has faced so far. Within days of its release, the production team had to deal with several threats of lawsuits, including one accusing the comedian of abusing the good faith of Holocaust survivor Judith Dim Evans. The daughter of the renowned activist for the commemoration and memory of the Nazi genocide accused Baron Cohen of include his mother without her knowing that he was in the middle of a satire. Later, he added that the entire sequence – which includes the comedian in the middle of a conversation in Synagogue while wearing a costume that sums up all Jewish stereotypes – was a way of “making fun of the Holocaust and Jewish culture.” However, the claim was dismissed.

But the request of the American Association of Kazakhstan is much more serious and specific. It is requested that the film not be considered in any of the future awards next year, in addition to avoiding any public situation that could give Borat diffusion. Some members of the association tried a legal move to prevent the film from being released on the Prime Video streaming platform, without achieving it.

A large request

But the petition is not only supported by the Kazakh community in Hollywood: the Hollywood Film Academy and the Council on American-Islamic Relations also joined in a joint criticism of the tone and manner in which Borat presents Kazakhstan, a A small country in Central Asia and a former Soviet republic that has yet to grapple with its territorial and cultural identity.

“The Kazakh community around the world is under-represented and inherently vulnerable. Our nation is still recovering from an oppressive colonial past, so we do not have substantial representation in the media, ”says the letter criticizing the production team for mistreating the public image of a gentilicio who has no way of counteract what they call “excessive and negative publicity” for the film.

In 2006, the production was one of the big surprises of the year and a box office success that surprised Hollywood. Its sequel, secretly filmed during the pandemic, became according to Deadline in the best premiere in audience numbers for the Amazon Prime Video channel, becoming the most tuned and downloaded content by subscribers since the launch of the platform.

“Sacha Baron Cohen understands this and exploits Kazakhstan, hijacking our ethnic identity, whitewashing us by presenting ourselves as Eastern Europeans and inciting harassment of Kazakhs around the world.” Baron Cohen’s image of the Kazakhs has irritated most of the small country, where rivers of ink flowed to mark the way they are portrayed in the film.

At the time of the film’s premiere, Baron Cohen defended himself against criticism and made it clear that the film was a comedy in which he tried to show the American reality “that is rarely debated” and that Borat’s nationality “does not matter.” , in addition to adding that it is a game of misinterpretations. “This is a comedy and the film’s Kazakhstan has nothing to do with the real thing. I chose this country because no one in the United States knows anything about it, which allowed us to create a wild, comic and false world ”. Of course, the comedian’s explanations were not enough and for now, the battle in court – and outside of it – has only just begun.

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