Kazakh American Community Says ‘Borat 2’ Is Racist, Demands Apology From Sacha Baron Cohen


Kazakh American activists declared that Borat 2 is racist and “traumatizes” the entire nation of Kazakstan. The Kazakh American Community is demanding that Sacha Baron Cohen and Amazon apologize for Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, and warns the film could “incite violence against a highly vulnerable and underrepresented minority ethnic group.”

The Kazakh American Association fired off an angry letter on Oct. 20 to Cohen and three Amazon vice presidents, demanding an apology.

“Considering today’s socially aware political climate, why is a racist film which openly berates, bullies and traumatizes a nation comprised of people of color an acceptable form of entertainment that meets Amazon’s ethical values?” the non-profit asked in its letter obtained by Variety. “Why is our small nation fair game for public ridicule?”

“In this film, a white person adorns a Kazakh persona and then culturally appropriates and belittles everything we stand for. We, Kazakhs, are a small nation, but it does not mean that we are allowed to be targets for racism,” reads the letter, which is signed by Ayauly Akylkhan, chair of the organization’s board. “Mr. Cohen [sic] states that his primary target is Trump and racist Americans. If this was the case, he would have created a fake country, as he did in the film The Dictator. However, Mr. Cohen [sic] chose to openly bully, humiliate and dehumanize an actual nation.”

“Sacha Baron Cohen and his crew white washes our ethnicity and therefore makes it okay to make fun of us. It would be completely politically incorrect if they were Asian or Black,” says Gaukhar (Gia) Noortas, a Kazakh native who now lives in Los Angeles.

The Borat sequel was actually filmed in Romania, and stars Bulgarian actress Maria Bakalova.

Borat has once again split the Kazakhstanis into two camps. Some people are deeply outraged and say that the film is a lie because it was shot in Romania, not Kazakhstan. Our country is only 30 years old and state symbols are still sacralized,” Tatiana Fominova, a Kazakh marketing specialist, told Al Jazeera.

“The other half understands that the film is primarily about the United States and Sacha Baron Cohen has picked Kazakhstan almost randomly,” she added.

“This is a comedy, and the Kazakhstan in the film has nothing to do with the real country,” Baron Cohen said. “I chose Kazakhstan because it was a place that almost nobody in the U.S. knew anything about, which allowed us to create a wild, comedic, fake world. The real Kazakhstan is a beautiful country with a modern, proud society — the opposite of Borat’s version.”

Kazakhstan’s department of tourism has actually embraced the comedy, using Borat Margaret Sagdiyev’s catchphrase from the mockumentary as a marketing slogan for the Central Asian nation. Kazakhstan rolled out a new tourism slogan: “Kazakhstan. Very nice!”