The release of Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat sequel has yet again elicited mixed reactions in Kazakh society.
The mockumentary comedy film, directed by Jason Woliner and entitled Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, was released on Friday on Amazon Prime.
The fictional titular character is a Kazakh journalist and television personality Borat Sagdiyev, played by Baron Cohen, and characterised by his exaggerated racist, antisemitic and misogynist views, which are portrayed in the film as being typical in Kazakhstan.
While the movie is a satire on American ignorance and prejudice, rather than an attempt to mock Kazakhs, not everyone in Kazakhstan has appreciated the joke.
Prior to the movie’s release, more than 100,000 people signed an online petition to cancel the film.
Small groups of protesters also gathered in front of the US consulate in the Kazakh city of Almaty on the day of the premiere.The social media reaction was particularly heated. The hashtag #cancelborat appeared on Twitter and Instagram, with thousands of Kazakhs outraged by the alleged racism of the movie and accusing Baron Cohen of insulting the nation.
To make things worse, before the premiere the film’s marketing team set up fake Instagram and Twitter accounts impersonating the Kazakh government. Initially, most tweets focused on the weather and the activities of the country’s ministers.
“Little known fact: Kazakhs were first in the world to domesticate horses. Another great moment in the history of our great nation! #technology #worldculture,” said a tweet from September 30.