Every year has its share of fads. In the past there has been goldfish swallowing, phone booth stuffing, pole sitting, hula hooping, and every couple of years, cocaine. In 2006 it was cocaine again. But another fad was suing Sacha Baron Cohen and Fox over being “fooled” into being racist, sexist or just dumb-looking in Borat.
These suits were often aimed not just at getting money from the comedian and the globe-dominating media empire; the plaintiffs also wanted their scenes cut from the Borat DVD, which would have left the film at about 49 minutes. Thankfully, though, the DVD will be released untouched, and will even include deleted scenes set in a bathroom that some guy sued over.
Cohen doesn’t feel bad for these people at all. Talking to the LA Times he says, "This wasn’t ‘Candid Camera.’ There were two large cameras in the room. I don’t buy the argument that, ‘Oh, I wouldn’t have acted so racist or anti-Semitic if I’d known this film was being shown in America.’ That’s no excuse." And we didn’t even see the most damning stuff, apparently. "If you saw all of our footage with the gun shop owner, for example, we had a whole conversation about the right gun to use to shoot a Jew’s horns off his head."
The LA Times piece is very interesting because it’s part of Cohen’s award-season PR campaign of appearing as himself. When the movie was released you could only speak to Borat – and even then, only in heavily scripted sessions. Now Sacha Baron Cohen has emerged from behind the Borat mustache to talk about himself… and why he deserves a Golden Globe and maybe even an Oscar.
Borat will hit DVD on March 6th.