A few weeks after its release, Sacha Baron Cohen's Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is still igniting controversy this time not over the content of the sequel to 2006's Borat but over its official movie poster. According to a new report, the French version of the Borat 2 poster -- which is the same as the film's U.S. poster -- has offended the French Muslim community and has prompted calls from bus drivers for the posters to be removed from the sides of vehicles.
According to The Times (via IndieWire), the issue regarding the posters is that Baron Cohen appears nearly naked on the poster while also wearing a ring engraved with the Arabic word "Allah" and reports that some French Muslims have taken to social media to accuse French authorities of provocation and insulting Islam with the poster. In France, the ability to criticize and even mock religion is a complicated issue and controversial issue, and tensions are already high in light of recent terror attacks in the country.
In Paris, bus drivers have requested that the Borat 2 posters be removed, though the Paris transport authority (RATP) has indicated they have no plans to remove the posters.
In the U.S., the film has stirred a bit of controversy of its own particularly surrounding a scene in the film in which former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani reaches into his pants while in a hotel room with Maria Bakalova's character, Tutar. Giuliani has stated he was tucking in his shirt after removing recording equipment, though Baron Cohen has said while he wants audiences to decide for themselves, he believes it was inappropriate.
"He said he did nothing inappropriate and my feeling is if he sees that as appropriate, then Heaven knows what he intends to do with other women in hotel rooms with a glass of whiskey in his hand," the comedian said in a recent stop on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. "I don't want to ruin the movie for anyone, so I'd just say see it and make your own mind up."
The film also stirred a bit of controversy regarding the film's breakout "star", Jeanise Jones, a real person who appeared in the film as a "babysitter" for Tutar and teachers her important lessons about personal independence. After the film's release, Jones said she felt "betrayed" by the film as she thought she was participating in a documentary.
“I’m feeling like she’s from the Third World and that kind of stuff does happen where they sell women. I’m thinking this is for real, so I felt kind of betrayed by it,” Jones told The NY Post. “They told me it was a documentary for this young lady to understand she has rights and she can do whatever a man can do...I felt pain for her and tried [to see] if there’s any way we can get through to her that she doesn’t need to do all that."
A GoFundMe set up for Jones has raised more than $170,000 for Jones and Baron Cohen himself contributed $100,000 to Jones' community to support Jones and her church community's real-world outreach efforts.
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is now streaming on Amazon Prime.