The chameleon-like film and television satirist Sacha Baron Cohen has expressed "outrage" at the organizers of the Academy Awards for prohibiting him from appearing at the ceremony dressed as the character from his latest movie.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that hosts the Oscars said Cohen -- who rose to comic fame portrayed characters like wannabe rapper "Ali G," clueless Kazakh reporter "Borat," and flamboyant gay fashion reporter "Bruno" -- could not show up to the awards ceremony if he appeared as his character from the upcoming spoof "The Dictator."
The academy said Cohen's plans to attend the Oscars in costume were a publicity stunt and therefore would be "inappropriate."
Dressed as the fictional "Dictator" Admiral General Aladeen, complete with fake medals and backed by machine-gun-toting bodyguards, Cohen responded, appearing in a video on the Internet, in which he applauds "the academy for taking away my right to free speech." But he warns, "If you do not lift your sanctions and give me my tickets back by 12:00 pm on Sunday, you will face unimaginable consequences!"
Cohen branded Oscar organizers "Zionists" for banning the appearance.
"The Dictator" blasts the academy for never giving an award to films from the fictional Republic of Wardiya that he rules, asking where are the nominations for such Wardiyan classics as "When Harry Kidnapped Sally," "You've Got Mailbomb," and others.
"The Dictator" pokes fun at actress Hillary Swank for her controversial appearance at a recent birthday event for Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, lamenting that he "paid Hillary Swank $2 million to be my date and she will not refund a penny."
"My Sunday calendar is now as empty as a North Korean grocery store," he adds.
"The Dictator" concludes by saying, "Death to the West, Death to America, and Good Luck, Billy Crystals, you're fantastic," in an erroneous reference to this year's host, comic Billy Crystal.
Based on Reuters and AFP reporting