Sacha Baron Cohen Slammed for "Damaging Lunacy" of The Dictator Stereotype

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Sacha Baron Cohen has courted controversy over the last couple weeks, first by campaigning to attend the Oscars as his character from The Dictator - Admiral General Aladeen from the fictional Republic of Wadiya - and then by dumping a fake urn of ashes on Ryan Seacrest at the ceremony.

But the National Network for Arab American Communities is taking issue with the actor for a very different reason.

In an Op-Ed for The Huffington Post, Director Nadia Tonova slams Cohen for the "damaging lunacy" of this portrayal, arguing that it perpetuates dangerous stereotypes.

Sacha Baron Cohen is The Dictator

"Arabs are among the few cultures that Hollywood still exploits with impunity," Tonova writes. "Routinely, we are profiled as unsavory or sultry characters - generally terrorists, dictators, sheikhs, oil tycoons or Bedouins. But it's not just Hollywood that perpetuates this imagery.

"These stereotypes are promoted through the media, law enforcement, our courts, legislatures, Congress and our political candidates. They become an ugly message that trickles down to the general public: Arabs and Muslims are untrustworthy; they are un-American; they are... fill the blank."

Cohen, of course, is an equal opportunity offender for the most part (see Brüno and Borat), but Tonova believes his actions in this movie contribute to racial profiling. His character's catchphrase is
Death to the West, after all, said with a huge smile.

She quotes late Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren to conclude her argument:

"It should be remembered that practically all aliens have come to this country because they like our land and our institutions better than those from whence they came...We must see to it that no race prejudices develop and that there are no petty persecutions of law-abiding people."

What do you think of Cohen's Arab portrayal in the movie?


Waaa lets all feel sorry for dictators now. And arent itilans(sp) and chinesse ppl always stereotyped too or does this writer jus want to say things to support her argument.


he's just exercising his right to free speech. to all the cunts who whimper when they see a stereotype being your mind, then go fuck yourself. in that order


At the end of the day, the guy is just lame, and unfunny. Sorry to know that so many are amused by sophomoric antics.


Sascha is just doing his job as a comedian, in portraying a "dictator" in a stereotypical form. He's just conforming the stereotypes that many people see or hear; when they see a real "dictator".


I don't think he's making fun of Arabs per se. He's making fun of people like Ghaddaffi and Kim Jong Il who were real people.


Wah! Everyone is a sterotype.




"practically" all aliens come to this country because they like it - others come because they want to blow it up. Stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason. I'm not amused by this character, but I will fight for his right to be as offensive as he wants. That is America.

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