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Sacha Baron Cohen’s Bruno offends gay rights groups

Jessica Geen June 16, 2009
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Bruno, the latest film creation from comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, has been met with complaints from gay rights groups.

Baron Cohen has said the character of Bruno, dressed in string vests and leather underwear, is intended to expose hypocrisy by using gay stereotypes.

The film follows the TV journalist as he attempts to be ‘cured’ of his homosexuality in order to further his career.

However, some gay groups have called the film offensive, saying it may reinforce homophobia.

Rashad Robinson, of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, told the Independent: “Some people in our community may like this movie, but many are not going to be OK with it.

“Sacha Baron Cohen’s well-meaning attempt at satire is problematic in many places and outright offensive in others.”

This was echoed by the Human Rights Campaign, which said: “We strongly feel that Sacha Baron Cohen and Universal Pictures have a responsibility to remind the viewing public right there in the theatre that this is intended to expose homophobia.”

Last week, it was revealed that Sir Elton John had declined a request to allow his track ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight’ to be used in a cage-fighting scene which ends in two men kissing.

According to the New York Times, Sir Elton “learned of the scene’s particulars and blanched” but allowed another track of his to be played in another part of the film.

In a statement issued this week, Universal Pictures, which financed the project, said that Bruno “uses provocative comedy to powerfully shed light on the absurdity of many kinds of intolerance and ignorance, including homophobia.

“By placing himself in radical and risky situations, Sacha Baron Cohen forces both the people Bruno meets and the audience itself to challenge their own stereotypes, preconceptions and discomforts. We believe the overwhelming majority of the audience will understand and appreciate the film’s unarguably positive intentions.”

Two weeks ago, Baron Cohen staged an elaborate joke at the MTV awards which involved him, dressed as Bruno, being lowered onto the head of rap star Eminem.

There was much speculation whether Eminen, who stormed out of the show, was involved in the stunt. MTV head writer Scott Aukerman later confirmed the pair had rehearsed the scene.

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