In these days of Borat 2 being one of Prime Video’s most viewed films, Sacha Baron Cohen goes viral on social media for a raw and sincere talk about our society.
If anyone was still convinced that Sacha Baron Cohen he is just a demented and bad taste comedian, after listening to his speech he will have to change his mind. Behind the crazy characters he has created in the last twenty years of his career, Ali G, Brüno, Borat The the dictator (to mention only the most famous), there is a precise satire aimed at provoking both common people and public figures, showing what human paste they are really made of. According to the actor, people’s bigotry and hypocrisy are a particularly widespread evil and social networks are a poisonous amplifier.
In these days, Baron Cohen is a dramatic actor in one of the novelties of Netflix, he film The Chicago Trial 7, and is back again to play his famous Kazakh journalist in one of the novelties of Amazon Prime Video, the sequel Borat: Sequence of cinema films.
Thanks to the arrival of the latter film, shot in great secrecy last summer, which once again goes to uncover the profound contradictions of American society, and the imminent last call to vote for the new (or confirm the old) President of the United States, a speech by Sacha Baron Cohen is swirling around the web.
Sacha Baron Cohen: What the Borat actor says in the celebrity-shared video
Famous actors like Jennifer Aniston, Leonardo DiCaprio, Juliette Lewis e Lena Headey they shared the video of a speech that Sachan baron cohen held in November 2019 at a conference of the Anti-Defamation League, a non-governmental association that fights anti-Semitism. On that occasion, the actor talked about the role of social media (especially Facebook) that take shelter behind the pretext of guaranteeing freedom of speech for everyone, when in reality their algorithm helps to spread the most controversial and deleterious messages that distort the general perception of society by individuals.
The media brand Freeda has put together that long speech by Baron Cohen and made a three-minute summary of it by posting it on the web. Listening to his words, which we have translated below, is an illuminating lesson in current affairs.
Sometimes critics say that my comedies risk reviving old stereotypes. The truth is that all my life I have tried to challenge bigotry and intolerance. As a comedian, I have tried to use my characters to let people down their guard to reveal what they really believe, including their own prejudices. Borat revealed people’s indifference to anti-Semitism.
When disguised as Brüno, the Austrian gay fashion journalist, I started kissing a man in the state of Arkansas, almost sparking a fight, the violent potential of homophobia emerged. And when I pretended to be a progressive extreme and proposed building a mosque in a rural community, leading a resident to proudly admit that he is a racist towards Muslims, the growing acceptance of Islamophobia came to light. In the world today, demagogues are resorting to our worst instincts, conspiracy theories once relegated to the fringes as they become mainstream. It is as if the age of reason, the age of proven facts is ending, and our knowledge is progressively de-legitimized and scientific consensus is being displaced.
Democracy, which depends on sharing the truth, is retreating and autocracy, which depends on sharing falsehoods, is advancing. Hate crimes are on the rise, as are murderous attacks on ethnic and religious minorities. Fake news surpasses real news, because studies show that lies spread faster than truths. Everything on the internet can seem equally legitimate. The raving of a lunatic appears as credible as the discoveries of a Nobel laureate. Voltaire was right when he said “Those who make you believe nonsense can make you commit atrocities”.
In the end, it all comes down to the kind of world we want. If we prioritize the truth over lies, tolerance over prejudice, empathy over indifference, experts over the ignorant, then maybe we can save democracy, we can still have a place for freedom of speech and expression. The right to life, freedom and the pursuit of happiness is now threatened by hatred, plots and lies. So let me leave you with a suggestion for a different social goal. The ultimate goal of society should be to ensure that people are not targeted, harassed or murdered for who they are, where they come from, who they love or how they pray.
Below is the video of the speech by Sacha Baron Cohen, lower the trailer for Borat – Sequel to cinema films e The Chicago Trial Trailer 7.