Sacha Baron Cohen has responded to his apparent ‘banning’ from this weekend’s Oscars, calling the Academy “Zionists” in the process.
The Borat and Bruno star has rankled organisers of Sunday’s (February 26) awards bash, after it emerged that he was planning to attend the red carpet in character for his next film project The Dictator.
Another faux-documentary in the style of his previous projects, the film sees him play the autocratic leader of fictional middle eastern nation the Republic Of Wadiya. And now, Cohen has used the controversy to whip up yet another publicity stunt.
A statement on the film’s official website RepublicOfWadiya.com says that he plans to respond in character later today:
Admiral General Aladeen will deliver a formal response tomorrow morning to being banned from the Oscars by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Zionists.
The statement puns on the organisations real name, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
For their part, the Academy denies ever banning Cohen, but were simply concerned about what he had planned: “The Academy would love to have Sacha at the show. We’ve let him know how we feel about using the red carpet for a movie stunt and we’re waiting to hear from him.”
Cohen has form in using awards shows and other big events to hype his movies. To help launch Borat in 2006, Cohen arrived at the Toronto International Film Festival dressed up as his TV journalist alter ego, riding a wagon pulled by “Kazakhstani peasant women”. At the 2009 MTV Movie Awards, his gay fashionista character Bruno descended descended bare-bottomed into Eminem‘s lap, causing the rapper to ‘storm out’ in a well-rehearsed stunt.