Sasha Baron Cohen’s alter-ego in “The Dictator” was alive and scandalous in Australia on Wednesday, entertaining a talk show team with his provocative, yet debatable intelligence. According to one report, however, he may not be welcomed elsewhere.
Head-to-toe in commander regalia, Aladeen, the film’s faux world leader, was accompanied by a tanned, long-legged female entourage when he appeared on Australia’s “Wake up with TODAY!,” earning laughs for his remarks on the state of affairs down under.
"To get them more popular, your prime minister should have a sex change and become a woman,” said the comic as his Qaddafi-like character when asked what advice he had for world leaders. “Also, your prime minister should always have someone around he can trust. I have 25 virgin girls that follow me around and protect me at all times."
The current prime minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, is a woman.
Referencing some of the Aussie nation’s alleged scandals, Cohen commented, “The first rule of a politician: only sexually harass the female staff. The boys will always talk, females cry."
His other words of wisdom, “When you pay for hookers, don’t use the government credit card. Always cash, cash, cash! I know it’s tempting to put it on the credit card for the air miles."
It may not come as too big a shock then that some folks at the BBC have decided they will pass on a similar interview with the international parody. Reports UK’s The Daily Mail, Cohen claims the world media outlet has banned Aladeen from several of its TV and radio programs, including "The Graham Norton Show," "The One Show," "Newsnight," "The Andrew Marr Show," and shows on Radio 1 and Radio 4.
In what the actor has deemed a “blackout” in an in-character interview he did with the UK's Sun, Cohen said the broadcaster was “victimizing little old me… While I am a huge admirer of state-sponsored censorship, the BBC banning me from their meager channels is an outrage."
Sacha Baron Cohen plays an unrepentant brutal dictator who loves nothing more than to squash the hopes of those living under his brutal regime, while living a life of splendor. Opens May 16.
Conflicting reports provide no definite answer on the matter, as a spokesperson for the BBC told The Daily there was no ban, only that “few of the television shows mentioned would be an appropriate platform for one of Cohen's controversial characters.”
"Our chat shows thrive on the spontaneous banter between guests and the presenter, something you don't get when people come on as a character," the BBC statement said. "We'd love to have Sacha on as himself."
On the other hand, a source close to Cohen said he had been initially approached by "The One Show" to appear as Aladeen, though it has since withdrawn interest.
"The Dictator" opens in theaters on May 16, and tells the tale of Aladeen, rich ruler of the fictional country “Wadiya” in northeast Africa, who travels to New York in a monstrous cultural collision. These latest appearances continue Cohen’s ongoing publicity campaign that began in February at the Academy Awards when he dumped “Kim Jong-II’s ashes” onto Ryan Seacrest during his red carpet arrival.