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Sacha Baron Cohen's The Dictator Called Out as 'Ugly' Stereotype of Arabs

Sacha Baron Cohen's  The Dictator Called Out as 'Ugly' Stereotype of Arabs
@mlim20

You saw Sacha Baron Cohen, in character as The Dictator, take on the Academy Awards for allegedly refusing his punk-worthy entrance to the red carpet at the Oscars Sunday.

It was all a media stunt, and Cohen ended up on the red carpet, spreading the "ashes" of Kim Jong Ill on Ryan Seacrest. Ha-ha.

Except Arab Americans aren't happy. Not at all:

Look at it this way. Imagine if Cohen portrayed a Latino leader with a thick mustache, an accent, a vertically challenged presence, corruption all around him, and a box of cigars in-hand.

(Actually, Richard Dreyfuss played an impersonator of just such a Latin American dictator in Moon Over Parador. Discuss).

Richard Dreyfuss in 'Moon Over Parador.'
Richard Dreyfuss in 'Moon Over Parador.'

Anywho, the National Network for Arab American Communities is not happy with Cohen's General Shabazz Aladeen, who will receive big-screen treatment in summer, when The Dictator is released.

The group's director, Nadia Tonova, stated today:

Arabs are among the few cultures that Hollywood still exploits with impunity. Routinely, we are profiled as unsavory or sultry characters -- generally terrorists, dictators, sheikhs, oil tycoons or Bedouins.

... 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.

Shame on you, Cohen. You should go back to playing British hip-hop/raver guidos.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]


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