General News

Sacha Baron Cohen under attack for movie portrayal of Arabs

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May 16, 2012 | 1:15pm EDT

The British funnyman, known for his outrageous onscreen personas, has been up to his usual headline-grabbing antics of late as his latest outrageous alter-ego Admiral General Aladeen, the leader of fictional Arab country Wadiya.

Cohen caused mayhem on the opening day of the Cannes Film Festival in France on Wednesday (16May12) when he arrived at the event in character, on a yacht, and pretended to murder George Clooney's ex-girlfriend Elisabetta Canalis.

He also famously caused a ruckus on the red carpet at the Academy Awards in February (12) when he dumped an urn of white powder all over TV presenter Ryan Seacrest's tuxedo.

But Nadia Tonova, the director of the National Network for Arab American Communities, insists she and many other Arabs aren't laughing at his unruly behaviour - because his portrayal of Admiral General Aladeen reflects badly on them, particularly at a time when the threat of terrorism is still a big worry to Americans.

Tonova tells Eonline.com, "I have not seen the film, but based on the trailer and interviews that I have seen him do in character, it really seems to be that it's perpetuating a negative stereotype against Arabs and therefore Arab-Americans.

"And I feel it's harmful to the discourse, especially these days when we are seeing the number of profiling incidents here in the U.S. against Arab-Americans."

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