The Sun attacks Sacha Baron Cohen film for ‘Daniel Radcliffe infects the Queen with HIV’ plot

Joseph McCormick November 26, 2015
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The latest Sacha Baron Cohen film has been criticised by the Sun for apparently portraying Daniel Radcliffe ‘infecting the Queen’ with HIV.

The film ‘The Brothers Grimsby’ is the latest of Baron Cohen’s work, which is often criticised for pushing the boundaries of taste.

This latest film apparently includes a scene in which an actor resembling Radcliffe “is shown swallowing splattered blood and a mock news report, using an image of the real Daniel, tells the audience he has HIV.”

According to the Sun, which was last week involved in a furore over its reporting of a HIV-positive celebrity, later in the film the Radcliffe character “returns to infect a character portraying the Queen.”

Brothers Grimsby has been heavily criticised for Baron Cohen’s character who is a football hooligan, and for its portrayal of the residents of Grimsby.

A spokeswoman for the Harry Potter star has clarified his position, saying: “Daniel is not involved in this production.”

Suzi Price of the National AIDS Trust has already commented on the storyline, details of which were revealed in June, said: “HIV can only be passed on by blood if it enters an open-wound, or in significant amounts, a mucus membrane.

“Even then it is extremely unlikely, alongside the fact that any child living with HIV in the UK would almost definitely be on HIV treatment and therefore unable to pass the virus on.

“The fact that HIV is used in this context, for shock value, is testimony to that fact that HIV is still seen as a punchline.

“The scene just wouldn’t work and wouldn’t garner this controversy if the Queen found out she had another long-term condition, such as diabetes or asthma.

“I hope if this scene does make the final cut Sacha Baron Cohen finds a way to address some of these complexities, but I’m not holding my breath.”

According to the Sun, a source close to Radcliffe said: “This sounds outrageous.

“We will speak to Sony Pictures and don’t be surprised if this scene or any reference to Daniel does not make the final edit.”

The Sun last week found itself at the centre of a storm of criticism over a front page which speculated on a Hollywood actor’s HIV status.

The paper published the front page on Wednesday, titled “HOLLYWOOD HIV PANIC” which states: “A-list actor’s virus diagnosis rocks showbiz…. Womanising star has string of ex-lovers.”

Campaigners heavily criticised the paper for the report, which some said made it too easy to identify the actor in question.

The actor was previously accused of perpetuating cheap gay stereotypes through his character Bruno, which he has since retired.

Related topics: HIV, sacha baron cohen, The Queen, The Sun

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