'Borat 2' Round-Up: Sacha Baron Cohen Attacked, A Lawsuit Dismissed, Kazakhstan Tourism, and Donald Trump Sparring
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm hasn’t even been out for an entire week, and it’s already been making waves in a variety of ways. Obviously, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani has felt the biggest impact from the mockumentary sequel, but since he’s Donald Trump‘s lawyer, the increasingly unstable president has been inundated with questions about the scandal in question. So of course it’s prompted some verbal sparring between the petty world leader and Borat star and creator Sacha Baron Cohen. But that’s not all.
In the wake of the release of Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, there’s also been a lawsuit dismissed that was filed by a family member of one of the film’s most pivotal subjects. Plus, the Kazakhstan tourism board is officially embracing one of Borat’s catchphrases as part of their marketing campaign. And finally, Sacha Baron Cohen himself has released some unseen footage in which his life was put at risk during a key sequence. Get the lowdown on all of the Borat 2 controversy and aftermath below.
Donald Trump Lashes Out at Sacha Baron Cohen
It should come as no surprise that Donald Trump has unkind words (via The AP) for Sacha Baron Cohen and his Borat antics, especially since it brought further humiliation upon his administration and all the clowns in it. While flying on Air Force One last Friday, Trump was asked about the Borat sequel, and Trump said:
“I don’t know what happened. But years ago, you know, [Sacha Baron Cohen] tried to scam me, and I was the only one who said no way. That’s a phony guy. I don’t find him funny. To me, he’s a creep.”
Ah, yes. After all these years, Donald Trump is the only one who said no way. But in reality, Trump is probably just pissed that he was duped enough to sit down with Sacha Baron Cohen’s character Ali G in an interview that didn’t last very long.
The super smart Donald Trump talks about people doing business as early as “hundreds of millions of years ago,” when everyone was trading in rocks and stones. Forget about the fact that humans have only been on Earth for roughly seven million years, but clearly this guy is too smart to be scammed, right?
For his part, Cohen had the perfect response for the little orange man with the sad face:
I’m always looking for people to play racist buffoons, and you’ll need a job after Jan. 20. Let’s talk!https://t.co/itWnhJ8TQF
— Sacha Baron Cohen (@SachaBaronCohen) October 24, 2020
Speaking of which, this is a good time to encourage you to vote. Politics isn’t supposed to be this circus of lies and humiliation where the leader of the free world is calling people names like he’s on a grade school playground. Make politics boring again by voting this joke of a human being out of office. Vote early if you can, and make sure you do it as soon as possible.
Borat 2 Lawsuit Dismissed in Georgia Court
Judith Dim Evans is the Jewish woman and Holocaust survivor who appears in a pivotal sequence in the Borat sequel. Baron Cohen, as Borat, enters a synagogue dressed as a grotesque representation of a Jewish person with a long nose, a bag of money, and Payot sidelocks (Baron Cohen himself is Jewish and has frequently tackled anti-Semitism in his work). In the synagogue are two women, one being Judith Dim Evans, but rather than shun Borat when he appears in this holy place in such an offensive fashion, she embraces him and takes it as an opportunity to educate him. It’s a turning point for Borat as a character and one of the rare occasions of a wholly kind and decent person interacting with him.
However, Evans’ daughter Michelle Dim St. Pierre felt she needed to file a lawsuit and sought a court order that would have forced the producers to remove Evans from the film. She filed the suit on behalf of her mother’s estate, alleging that Amazon and Oak Springs productions misappropriated her mother’s likeness. Well, a Georgia judge disagreed and refused to issue an injunction, and St. Pierre withdrew the lawsuit entirely.
We’re not sure if St. Pierre hadn’t seen the movie yet and assumed that Sacha Baron Cohen attempted to make her mother the butt of a joke. Judith Dim Evans unfortunately passed away since shooting her interview with Borat, so she couldn’t speak for herself on the matter. Considering how heart-warming her mother’s response is to Borat, I don’t see how the movie is misappropriating Ms. Evans’ likeness.
In the end, not only is Borat Subsequent Moviefilm dedicated to Ms. Evans, but after the scene in question was filmed, Cohen had someone explain who he was and how Borat was being used as a means of calling attention to ignorance and satirizing those who view Jewish people in such a negative way. The filmmakers also helped create a website in her honor, and at some point there will be a way to hear her Holocaust story as bonus content through Amazon’s X-ray feature.
Russell Smith, the legal representative for Amazon, said in a statement (via Variety):
“Sacha Baron Cohen was deeply grateful for the opportunity to work with Judith Dim Evans, whose compassion and courage as a Holocaust survivor has touched the hearts of millions of people who have seen the film. Judith’s life is a powerful rebuke to those who deny the Holocaust, and with this film and his activism, Sacha Baron Cohen will continue his advocacy to combat Holocaust denial around the world.”
Kazakhstan Tourism Adopts One of Borat’s Catchphrases
While some have chosen to place their crosshairs on Sacha Baron Cohen and his Borat character, there is one organization who is embracing the fictional reporter’s comedic antics. Kazakhstan’s tourism board is using Borat as a marketing tool by taking his catchphrase “Very nice!” and putting it in advertising spots, as you can see above.
Kairat Sadvakassov, deputy chairman of Kazakh Tourism added in a statement (via BBC), “Kazakhstan’s nature is very nice. Its food is very nice. And its people, despite Borat’s jokes to the contrary, are some of the nicest in the world.”
They’re throwing a little bit of shade at Borat, but at least they’re taking the jokes in stride. The idea came from an American advertiser named Dennis Keen and his friend Yermek Utemissov, who produced the advertisements for Kazakhstan, but not everyone with ties to the country is happy about Borat.
Yet again proving that they just don’t understand the point of Sacha Baron Cohen’s satirical character, The Kazakh American Association said the sequel shamelessly promotes “racism, cultural appropriation and xenophobia.” In fact, more than 100,000 people signed an online petition demanding a cancellation of the film after the first trailer was released.
Sacha Baron Cohen Barely Escapes a Right-Wing Rally
The people of Kazakhstan aren’t the only ones who have been angered by Sacha Baron Cohen’s trickery. As the comedian revealed during a recent appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, his life was put in danger when his presence at a right-wing rally was brought to the attention of those attending it.
Sacha Baron Cohen appears as Borat in disguise as a character called Country Steve, who takes to the stage at a right-wing rally to sing a song about how China created the coronavirus pandemic and howe they should chop up journalists “like the Saudis do.” Needless to say, the crowd was eating it up. But the rally took a turn for the worse, though we don’t get to see it in the movie. Cohen recounted the situation and showed footage that we didn’t get to see (starting around 4:56 in the video above)
Cohen explains exactly what went wrong with the gag:
“Everyone was singing along and the problem was that some of the militia groups that were in this rally had been antagonizing the Black Lives Matter protesters, so as revenge some of the Black Lives Matter protesters were coming over to confront them. One of them went, ‘Oh my God, it’s Sacha Baron Cohen!’ Word got out that it was me, and then the organizers and a lot of people in the crowd got very angry. They tried to storm the stage. Luckily for me, I had hired the security, so it took them a while to actually storm the stage.”
Cohen makes a getaway in an ambulance that appears to belong to the production. However, even though Cohen had security and an escape plan in place, that didn’t keep him from fearing for his life. He wrote in TIME:
“Under my overalls, I was wearing a bulletproof vest, but it felt inadequate with some people outside toting semiautomatic weapons. When someone ripped open the door to drag me out, I used my entire body weight to pull the door back shut until our vehicle maneuvered free. I was fortunate to make it out in one piece.”
You can see that all unfold in the video above, and you can watch Borat Subsequent Moviefilm on Amazon Prime now.
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