A coalition led by the Kazakh-American Association, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has launched a lobbying campaign that looks to bar Borat Subsequent Moviefilm from most major awards shows this season. The group, which also includes members of the global Kazakh ethnic community, has drafted letters to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and other major film associations to ban consideration of the Sacha Baron Cohen-led sequel for what it calls "racism, bigotry, and discrimination against Kazakhstan and its people."
“The Kazakh community worldwide is underrepresented and inherently vulnerable. Sacha Baron Cohen understands this fact and exploits the Kazakh people by hijacking our ethnic identity, whitewashing us, and inciting harassment toward us," Holly Film Academy CEO Gia Noortas said of the film. "Considering today’s socially aware political climate and the new diversity policies adopted by film associations worldwide, it is unbelievable that a film which openly berates, bullies, and traumatizes a nation of people of color is still an acceptable form of entertainment."
The letters come some 13 years of Baron Cohen and his team earned an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay for their work on the initial film. Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan earned Baron Cohen a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy that same year.
In addition to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the group has also written letters to the Hollywood Foreign Press Asociation, the Directors Guild of America, and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. The common theme among said letters is that the movie levies "concrete harm to the Kazakh people," through false depictions of "violence, sexism, and anti-Semitism."
"We join Kazakh-Americans in calling for film associations to ban the Borat sequel from awards consideration. We recognize that Mr. Cohen sometimes uses his bigoted characters to expose bigotry in others," CAIR director Nihad Awad adds. "However, Mr. Cohen cannot counter racism and bigotry against some people while perpetuating racism and bigotry against other people, especially Kazakh-Americans, whose real culture may be unfamiliar to most Americans."
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is now streaming on Amazon Prime