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No Cross-Dressing Comedians Please, We're Azerbaijani


The Azercell advertisement showing two male comedians in women's clothes has proven too much to stomach for some in Azerbaijan.

The Azercell advertisement showing two male comedians in women's clothes has proven too much to stomach for some in Azerbaijan.

Dressing up as women is something of a stock in trade for Azerbaijani comedians Rafael and Cosqun.

WATCH: Rafael performs to a Lady Gaga song.


But the double act has run into trouble over an advertisement for a major mobile-phone operator in which the two men don blond and brunette wigs twinned with white and black dresses.

The advertisement for Azercell appeared on billboards across Baku and on television.



Girl: "The relationship can't go on this way, I've got to call him and break up."

Comedian: "Right, go ahead and split up with him."

Girl: "If only it were cheaper to call. It costs too much."

Comedian: "Just a minute..."

But not everyone was amused.

Parliament member Fazil Mustafa sharply criticized the actors' cross-dressing, labeling it as contradictory to the Azerbaijani mentality, and last month called on the Baku City Executive Office to take down the billboards.

A couple of weeks later, Mustafa received this response from Azercell:

"The company has investigated and established that there are no laws that would forbid male actors in women's clothing from promoting a company. The 'Azercell' advertisement contained no embarrassing elements and nothing that would cause psychological stress or spoil people's moral atmosphere."

However, the company also noted that the advertising campaign had been halted and the billboards had been taken down.

-- Arife Kazimova

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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