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‘Bruno’ Banned In Ukraine

Bruno: harmful to Ukrainians
Bruno: harmful to Ukrainians
Bruno – the latest fictional character to be brought to the screen by British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen – will not be making any public appearances in Ukraine. The Culture Ministry in Kyiv has decided that the comedy about a flamboyant gay Austrian fashion reporter is too explicit for Ukrainians’ sensibilities.

From Reuters:

A culture ministry commission concluded that "Bruno" included an "artistically unjustified exhibition of sexual organs and sexual relations, homosexual acts in a blatantly graphic form, obscene language, sadism, and anti-social behavior which could damage the moral upbringing of our citizens.”

For a trailer which may or may not damage one's moral upbringing, click here.

Dennis Ivanov of Arthouse Traffic, the distribution company promoting the film, noted that the ban is likely to make "Bruno" even more popular in underground circles as a pirated video.

Baron Cohen’s last film, “Borat,” featured a naïve journalist from Kazakhstan who traveled around the United States, pestering ordinary Americans (non-actors who weren't in on the joke) with culturally insensitive questions. The film raised eyebrows in Kazakhstan, but led to a PR backlash rather than an outright ban.

If any country has a particular reason to take issue with “Bruno,” it would be Austria, rather than Ukraine. Cohen’s character – again traveling the United States – dreams of becoming "the biggest Austrian superstar since Hitler.”

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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

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