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English town officials step up battle with Sacha Baron Cohen

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Jul 15, 2014 | 8:01am EDT

Sacha Baron Cohen is facing a fresh backlash over his new movie after officials in the English town where it is set accused the actor of promoting a "negative" image of the area. The British funnyman plays a soccer hooligan in new film Grimsby, which is titled after the English town of the same name, and early footage from the film appears to show litter-strewn streets populated by disorderly drunks. The movie is being filmed in Essex, England, but the scenes have upset Grimsby locals who fear the town's reputation will be tarnished, and now local officials have waded into the debate over Cohen's new movie. North East Lincolnshire councillor Matthew Brown tells Britain's The Guardian newspaper, "It is using the town's name in potentially a poor light. What also worries me is that there is no benefit to the local economy which is carrying the town's name. Anything that you associate with football (soccer) hooliganism is going to be negative, but I hope people will be open-minded when they watch the film. "My view is quite simple. We don't have a massive issue with hooliganism... Sacha Baron Cohen visited the area when he watched Grimsby Town (soccer club) and I understand the fans treated him well. We cannot comment until we have watched the film. But I hope those fans are not abused."

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