Sacha Baron Cohen appeared Sunday night at the MTV Movie Awards to accept the statue for Best Comedic Performance in Borat. Not so unusual, except that Cohen appeared as himself and not as the renowned Kazakh journalist. When promoting the movie, Cohen in fact refused to make public appearance as himself. So where was Borat?
According to his acceptance speech:
I want to say unfortunately Borat can’t be here tonight. He’s been feeling the pressure of fame and has had to check himself into rehab. Last Thursday at about three in the morning, he was driving his horse and cart and crashed it into the fence of Jewtown… And he went on to a chat show recently drunk and actually made pro-Jewish remarks.
Looks like Borat will be out of the public eye for a while. Through the laughter caused by songs like Throw the Jew Down the Well and events such as the Running of the Jew, Borat has helped expose the naivety in our country about racism and Anti-Semitism.
As Cohen says, these portrayals,
are a dramatic demonstration of how racism feeds on dumb conformity, as much as rabid bigotry.
We could use more of Borat’s vital perspective, and I wish him a refuah shlema b’karov, a complete, speedy recovery.