Did Sacha Baron Cohen create an Arab stereotype?
Sacha Baron Cohen is under fire tonight from an Arab American group that says his latest character is nothing but exploitative. Read why they say Admiral General Aladeen sends an "ugly message."
Ryan Seacrest isn't the only guy who thinks Sacha Baron Cohen should find a new gig. The comedian is under fire from the National Network for Arab American Communities, who are extremely offended by his latest character: Admiral General Aladeen from the fake Republic of Wadiya.
If you're totally out of the loop, the despot is a hybrid of Saddam Hussein and Moammar Gadhafi and most definitely Arab. He is also quite buffoonish and definitely not a sympathetic character.
"There was plenty of buzz that he made a mess of Seacrest's Burberry tuxedo, but not much of an outcry about the blatant Arab stereotype," NNAAC director Nadia Tonova wrote today in an op-ed for the Huffington Post, referring to Cohen's Oscars stunt.
"Arabs are among the few cultures that Hollywood still exploits with impunity," Tonova continued. "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."
Tonova went on to say that representations like this help lead to the support of unfair practices like racial profiling and restricted immigration.
Is she right? Decide for yourself when The Dictator is released on May 11.