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Thursday, March 18, 2021

Sacha Baron Cohen On 'Borat' Ethics And Why His Disguise Days Are Over

Terry Gross
npr.org - Fresh Air
Originally published 22 Feb 21

Here is an excerpt:

On whether he thinks that there's an ethical gray area to bringing characters into the world and deceiving people

Those are the discussions that we have in the writers' room continually: Is this ethical? What's the purpose of this scene? Is it just to be funny? Is there some satire? Is that satire worth it? When you're doing stuff like a gun rally and you could get shot, then morally it's very clear. Or if you're undermining one of Trump's inner circle, whose sole aim is to undermine the legitimacy of the election, then, yeah, that's moral. I mean, look at what Rudy did post Borat coming out. He spread this big lie that Trump had won the election. And that lie is so dangerous and so misleading that it led to the attack on the Capitol — and it hasn't ended.

So the morality of seeing how Rudy would react when he was alone in a room with an attractive young woman, I think that morality is pretty clear. I think it's evidence of the misogyny that was trumpeted by the president and was almost a badge of honor with his inner circle. What we did with Rudy was crucial. I mean, we made the movie to have an impact on the election. ... So ethically, I can stand by that all day long.

Is the movie as a whole ethical? Yes. We did it because there was a deeply unethical government in power. And there was no question. ... We had to do what we could to inspire people to vote and remind people of the immorality of the government prior to the election. ... I have no doubt about the morality of this film. I'm very proud of it.