Sacha Baron Cohen’s “Borat 2” arrived in the U.S. with an explosion of controversy surrounding the film’s Rudy Giuliani encounter, but in France it’s the sequel’s official poster that’s stirring outrage. A report from The Times states that the “Borat 2” poster has offended many French Muslims as Baron Cohen appears almost naked and wearing a ring engraved with the Arabic word “Allah.” The French poster is the same as the film’s U.S. poster.
The Times reports that some French Muslims have “used social media to accuse [French] authorities of provocation and insulting Islam” with the “Borat 2” poster. The publication adds: “Muslim sensitivities and the freedom to mock religion are highly charged issues in France after three terrorist attacks in a month stemming from the publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in Charlie Hebdo, the satirical magazine. The attacks included the beheading of a teacher near Paris and the murder of three people in a church in Nice.”
Despite requests by bus drivers to remove the “Borat 2” poster from the side of vehicles, the Paris transport authority (RATP) has stated it “would under no circumstances take this campaign off our network.” Per The Times, RATP’s refusal to remove the posters off public transportation “reflects a drive by President Macron and his government to resist what they see as demands for censorship coming from fundamentalist Muslims.” RATP also denied social media claims alleging the “Borat 2” poster led to stoning attacks on buses over Halloween weekend.
One area where the “Borat 2” posters were removed from buses is the TICE network in the southern suburb of Évry. The area has “a large Muslim immigrant population.” TICE management said the posters were not removed because of complaints but because the organization deemed the “offbeat humor” on display to be “inappropriate” for public transportation.
“Borat 2” dominated the conversation in Hollywood in the lead up to the presidential election. A Variety report this week claims “Borat 2” launched with the second biggest streaming numbers of the year, trailing only the Disney+ launch of “Hamilton” over the summer. “Borat 2,” officially titled “Borat Subsequent Film,” is now available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.