In a letter to Amazon, Kazakh activists in the U.S. have publicly denounced Borat 2 for its racist depiction of Kazakhstan and its citizens. The letter came from the Kazakh American Association and was sent directly to 3 Amazon vice presidents asking to get the film removed from their streaming service, alongside an apology to the Kazakh community.
The October 20th letter, according to Variety included “Considering today’s socially aware political climate, why is a racist film which openly berates, bullies and traumatizes a nation comprised of people of color an acceptable form of entertainment that meets Amazon’s ethical values?” they went on to ask “Why is our small nation fair game for public ridicule?”
Sacha Baron Cohen’s intention behind the Borat films was to address the myopic & xenophobic attitudes of the average American. He makes the calim that Kazakhstan is such an obscure country that no American has heard of it giving him the liberty to create a character that Americans would in turn project their biases on to.
Cohen released a statement to the NY Times that said: “This is a comedy, and the Kazakhstan in the film has nothing to do with the real country,” He continued “I chose Kazakhstan because it was a place that almost nobody in the U.S. knew anything about, which allowed us to create a wild, comedic, fake world. The real Kazakhstan is a beautiful country with a modern, proud society — the opposite of Borat’s version.”
According to the Kazakh-American non-profit bade the argument that based on Cohen’s intentions and beliefs on which the series was made, that being the average American’s lack of knowledge on the world as a whole, why not create a fictional country that sounds real enough for Americans to believe?
“Mr. Cohen states that his primary target is Trump and racist Americans. If this was the case, he would have created a fake country, as he did in the film The Dictator,” they said in the letter. “However, Mr. Cohen [sic] chose to openly bully, humiliate and dehumanize an actual nation.” The letter asks for an apology from Cohen and Amazon.
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