Talkback: Was It Wrong To Use Kim Jong-il's Death For Free Dictator Publicity?

SachaBaronCohenDictator300b.jpgThe death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il this past Sunday inspired hope in some and fear (that Kim's mysterious 20-something son Kim Jong-un will continue his father's tyranny) in others. But for Sacha Baron Cohen -- the comedic actor/writer/producer who reveled in staging uncomfortable situations in his mockumentaries Borat and Brüno -- Kim's death inspired a publicity push for his upcoming comedy The Dictator.

Early Monday afternoon, Paramount and ostensibly The Dictator star, writer and producer issued a statement from the perspective of his Dictator character -- North African despot General Aladeen:

I am saddened to learn of the passing of my dear friend Kim Jong-Il. Our thoughts go out to his wife and 813 children. "K-Jo" was a great leader, good friend and average double's badminton partner. He died as he lived, in 3-inch lifts. An extraordinary man, he did so much to spread compassion, wisdom and uranium throughout the world.

On behalf of myself, Ahmadinejad, Chavez and Newt Gingrich, we would like to welcome his son, Kim Jong Un into the "Axis of Evil."

In addition to the statement, which quickly circulated online, Cohen & Co. used the North Korean leader's death as an excuse to start a Twitter feed for his Dictator character -- @RepublicWadiya -- and tweet his eulogy.

The opportunistic marketing scheme raises the question: Was it wrong, disrespectful or just in bad taste for Cohen to use Kim Jong-il's death to market his film, especially considering the millions of North Korean people who starved to death, lived in poverty and otherwise fallen victim to Kim's ruthlessness regime? Or is it wrong for us to expect anything less from a man who has made a living out of provoking people with politically incorrect statements and gestures on-camera?

· Kim Jong Il Dies, Sacha Baron Cohen's Dictator Releases Statement [HuffPo]

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Twitter [@RepublicWadiya]



Comments

  • Furious D says:

    I suspect that this press release will be the funniest thing to come out of the Dictator movie.

  • NP says:

    Well. He's not mocking those who suffered under the man's rule. He's ridiculing the man himself.
    Is it in poor taste? Maybe. Is it brilliant? Kinda.

  • Em says:

    Yeah you're not going to convince us to be mad about this. I feel like this article is almost in bad taste for chastising the spread of political satire; a lot of people wouldn't give a rat's ass about this sort of thing if we couldn't make jokes about it.

  • Alex says:

    The Twitter feed was there before this message was released.

  • G says:

    I think it was more distasteful to mention Newt Gingrich's name than it was Kim Jong Un. Hollywood can never pass up an opportunity to mock Republicans.

  • There's nothing here to necessarily "be mad" about. It's just the most obvious, lowest-hanging fruit for a guy who used to be renowned for challenging taboos. Sacha Baron Cohen isn't even imitating stereotypes anymore, he's just imitating Sacha Baron Cohen. And kind of poorly at that.

  • KRIS the KLINGON says:

    I don't recall people getting all bent-out about the Kim Jong Il as the singing sensation
    in TEAM AMERICA/WORLD POLICE. Okay, so Kim was a marionette....as was Alec
    Baldwin... fun little movie.
    Charlie Chaplin did a great caricature of Hitler; Cohen's THE DICTATOR should be
    judged solely on "Is it Funny, or Not?"
    KRIS
    KAG.org

  • KevyB says:

    Well, most of us think it's a little more than distasteful to divorce a wife while she lay in a hospital bed so you can marry the woman you were cheating with. Not to mention the fact that Gingrich is the person most-often credited with starting the whole political name-calling that is running rampant now, so the fact that someone else calls him a name? It's called karma, so quitcha whining, O'Reilly.
    As for Cohen, this is funny. And it's NEVER in bad taste to talk shit about a dictator, dead or alive. Besides, they did a similar thing on Conan last night so I don't really see how this is Cohen just being Cohen. If anything, it's the same old Cohen playing his character for far longer than any of us need him to play that character. But if he's being funny, then kudos.

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