By: E&P Staff
A top Kazakh official has invited British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen whose depiction of “Borat” — a homophobic, anti-semitic, misogynistic Kazakh journalist — has angered the Central Asian nation, to visit the “homeland.”
“His trip could yield a lot of discoveries — that women not only travel inside buses but also drive their own cars, that we make wine from grapes, that Jews can freely attend synagogues and so on,” Rakhat Aliyev, First Vice Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan, told local news agency Kazakhstan Today late on Wednesday.
Cohen’s movie, “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,” opens in the U.S. next month.
Kazkah officials in the past have threatened to sue the comedian. Cohen, in his Borat guise, even applauded that move to “sue that Jew.”
Aliyev said he understands why Kazakhs are unhappy about Cohen’s character, Borat Sagdiyev. “But we must have a sense of humor and respect other people’s freedom of creativity,” Aliyev told Kazakhstan Today.
The Kazakh Foreign Ministry recently ran four-page ads in The New York Times and in the International Herald Tribune touting the nation’s economic growth, civil liberties and cultural achievements.
“It’s useless to offend an artist and threaten to sue him,” Aliyev said. “It will only further damage the country’s reputation and make Borat even more popular.”
Also this week, a German group thatr defends gypsies said it had filed a suit to try to stop Cohen from showing his latest film in Germany. “We are accusing him of defamation and inciting violence against Sinti and Roma (gypsies),” Marko Knudsen, head of the European Center of Antiziganism Research, told Reuters. Antiziganism refers to hostility to gypsies.