In an interview with The New York Times, comedian Sacha Baron Cohen argued that American society has changed dramatically in the 15 years since he filmed the first mockumentary starring the zany Kazakhstan journalist Borat. And the change hasn’t been for the better.
“In 2005, you needed a character like Borat who was misogynist, racist, anti-Semitic to get people to reveal their inner prejudices,” Baron Cohen said in the interview, published on Saturday.
The first “Borat” film ― released in 2006 in the middle of George W. Bush’s second term as president ― saw the madcap character creating dark comedy across the United States by pranking unwitting bystanders and interviewees into showcasing their hidden prejudices.
“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,” set to be released Friday on Amazon Prime Video, was filmed in secret during the COVID-19 pandemic and has a slightly different intent than the first film.
According to Baron Cohen, in 2020, “inner prejudices are overt. Racists are proud of being racists.’’
Baron Cohen, describing Trump as “an overt racist” and “overt fascist,” told the Times that the film’s satire is also meant to illustrate the “dangerous slide into authoritarianism” that the US is undergoing. The English comedian even speculated that a second Trump term would likely turn America into a “democracy in name only, similar to a Turkish democracy or a Russian democracy.”
Baron Cohen also took aim at Trump’s many degrading comments toward women, pointing out that he wanted the second Borat film “to be a reminder to women of who they’re voting for — or who they’re not voting for.”
Earlier this month, Baron Cohen penned a scathing editorial in Time magazine on the dangers of misinformation, condemning Trump as a president “who averages 23 lies a day and is the world’s greatest superspreader of coronavirus conspiracies.”
Read the entire interview here.