Sacha Baron Cohen has said that he’s willing to pay the fines recently handed out to six tourists arrested in Kazakhstan for wearing bright green ‘mankinis’ made popular by his Borat character.
In 2006, Baron Cohen wrote and produced the Borat feature film, which had the full title of: Borat! Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. The film was subsequently banned in Kazakhstan and the government threatened to sue the comedy actor.
It was reported last week that a group of six Czech tourists wore the infamous green swimpieces to pose for photos in the capital city of Astana and were arrested for their “indecent” appearance. They were fined 22,500 Tenge each, which is roughly £51.
Responding to the news in a Facebook post, Baron Cohen has now said: “To my Czech mates who were arrested. Send me your details and proof that it was you, and I’ll pay your fine.” He then listed the email address: email@example.com. See that post below.
To my Czech mates who were arrested. Send me your details and proof that it was you, and I'll pay your fine. firstname.lastname@example.org://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-41982339
News of the arrests sparked a debate on social media about how this group would have been treated in other countries. Kazakh journalist Assem Mirjekeeva asked on Facebook: “I wonder how would the Czech authorities react if our citizens did the same in their country?”
One poster said that “I think they would have not reacted. It is because our police are so sensitive”, while another wrote, “They should have had a criminal charge for insulting the honour of the nation”.
Despite the film’s ban, in 2012 the foreign minister of the Central Asian state thanked Sacha Baron Cohen for boosting tourism in the country.