Sacha Baron Cohen’s Dictator "outraged" at Oscar "ban"

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, dressed as "The Dictator," voiced his "outrage" at Oscars organizers on Friday for banning his character from the award show's red carpet, although the actor himself is not barred from attending.

Dressed as fictional dictator Admiral General Aladeen in medal-adorned military regalia, Cohen branded Oscar organizers "zionists" for banning him from the Hollywood film awards this Sunday. A video of Aladeen's speech posted online shows him in a gilded chair surrounded by guards and paintings of himself.

"While I applaud the Academy for taking away my right to free speech, I warn you that if you do not lift your sanctions and give me my tickets back by 12 p.m. on Sunday, you will face unimaginable consequences," the comedian shouted while wagging his finger at the camera.

The humor-laced video follows media reports earlier this week that Cohen was banned from the Oscars because he planned to turn up as Aladeen, the central character of his upcoming comedy film "The Dictator" that is set to land in theaters in May.

A representative for the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences that hosts the Oscars, told showbusiness newspaper The Hollywood Reporter that they had not banned the actor but his "Dictator" publicity stunt would not be "appropriate." They were "waiting to hear back on what he's going to do."

Aladeen is Cohen's outlandish comedy character for the upcoming mockumentary film "The Dictator." Aladeen is the oppressive ruler of fictional Middle Eastern country the Republic of Wadiya, hellbent on keeping democracy at bay during his reign of terror.

Cohen has previously pulled publicity stunts dressed as characters from his other films, including turning up as Kazakhstani TV reporter Borat in a wagon pulled by a "peasant woman" at Toronto Film Festival in 2006 for the film's release, and as gay Austrian fashion journalist Bruno at the MTV VMA awards in 2009 to promote "Bruno."

(Reporting By Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)


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