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article imageMedia balking at interviewing Sacha Baron Cohen as 'Dictator'

By Joan Firstenberg     May 3, 2012 in Entertainment
Actor/comedien Sacha Baron Cohen is not getting all the interviews he might want for his new "Dictator" movie. Outlets like the BBC will only invite him if he appears as himself and doesn't wear his Dictator garb.
The BBC says it isn't opposed to allowing Sacha Baron Cohen to do interviews about his new movie, "The Dictator" on its TV and radio shows. It just wants him to appear out of costume, as himself. But not all media outlet agree. Australia's Today morning breakfast show apparently was okay with it and Cohen appeared in full regalia, with an army of beautiful, long-legged women guarding him. The Hollywood Reporter says he littered his live appearance with tons of sexual jokes, some of them targeted at the show's trio of presenters who reacted with uneasy laughter.
Sacha Baron Cohen as Dictator Admiral General Aladeen is definitely not holding anything back. During the Australian interview, he volunteered the opinion that Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard had a sex change to become a woman. But then, he had a moment of what might be called contrition or even remorse.
“I know what you are thinking," Aladeen said. "Why have me on? Execute the producer, I think.”
Paramount Pictures is planning to roll out "The Dictator" movie globally starting this month. And to further the promotion of it, Cohen has been given a heavy-duty schedule of appearances. But it remains to be seen how many media outlets will agree to his schenanigans. At first it was reported that the BBC had banned Cohen from all its programs. Media reports carried the story that Aladeen had been banned from plugging the film on a slew of BBC shows including high-profile talker The Graham Norton Show, its magazine The One Show and news and political shows Newsnight and The Andrew Marr Show as well as Radio 1 and Radio 4.
But then the British network claimed it had all been tongue in cheek and it actually would agree to have Baron Cohen on if he appeared as himself. A BBC spokesman had this comment.
“Our chat shows thrive on the spontaneous banter between guests and the presenter, something you don’t get when people come on as a character,” a spokesman said. "We’d love to have Sacha on as himself."
Sacha Cohen decided he could not agree to that and voiced this response to the BBC's decision which was published in the U.K.'s Sun newspaper,
"While I am a huge admirer of state-sponsored censorship, the BBC banning me from their meager channels is an outrage. Why are they victimizing little old me?" reports that on the heels of the BBC event, Baron Cohen flew off to Australia for his first interview.
Media outlets know very well what havoc Cohen can wreak on live broadcasts. On the red carpet at this year's Academy Awards, Cohen as General Aladeen poured what he said were the ashes of former North Korea leader Kim Jong-il over TV host Ryan Seacrest.
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