After initially pushing back against Sacha Baron Cohen’s “Borat” films as offensive, Kazakhstan has adopted the eponymous character’s catchphrase as a slogan to promote tourism to the country.
According to a report in The Huffington Post, the country began a new campaign on Sunday that features visitors at tourism sites in the country using the catchphrase.
In the advertisements, tourists hike, try foods, admire architecture and take photos with people in traditional dress.
Kairat Sadvakassov, deputy chairman of Kazakh Tourism, said in a statement to the outlet that the slogan “offers the perfect description of Kazakhstan’s vast tourism potential in a short, memorable way.”
“Kazakhstan’s nature is very nice; its food is very nice; and its people, despite Borat’s jokes to the contrary, are some of the nicest in the world. We would like everyone to come experience Kazakhstan for themselves by visiting our country in 2021 and beyond, so that they can see that Borat’s homeland is nicer than they may have heard,” said Sadvakassov.
According to The Guardian, the idea for the campaign came from an American who gives tours in the city of Almaty.
Dennis Keen apparently pitched the idea to the tourism authorities, who “immediately” gave it the green light.
In “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,” released last week, Baron Cohen returned as his alter ego from Kazakhstan.
The movie features Baron Cohen, who is Jewish, as a nonsensical reporter from the Central Asian country who is anti-Semitic, misogynist, and generally offensive, while interacting with Americans who were unaware the character was a sham.
Last week Rudy Giuliani issued an angry denial over a fake interview in which he is shown in the mockumentary in a compromising position in a hotel room with a young woman acting as a television journalist.
In further footage released Friday, the Twitter account of the Borat character showed film of one of the movie’s stars at a White House event close to US President Donald Trump.
Separately, a court in the US state of Georgia on Monday dismissed a lawsuit from the estate of a recently deceased American Holocaust survivor interviewed for the movie, which claimed the inclusion of the interview mocks the Nazi genocide and Jewish culture, Deadline reported.
The estate of Judith Dim Evans filed the lawsuit, which also named Amazon Prime, the distributor of the film, and production company Oak Springs Productions as defendants. Evans believed she was partaking in a serious documentary.
Filed by Evans’s daughter Michelle Dim St. Pierre, the executor of her estate, it alleged false light invasion of privacy, appropriation of Evans’s likeness for commercial gain, and fraud.
A lawyer for Amazon said that Baron Cohen was grateful to work with Evans, and will continue his work to combat Holocaust denial.
“The lawsuit was dismissed, unconditionally. The lawsuit is over. Sacha Baron Cohen was deeply grateful for the opportunity to work with Judith Dim Evans, whose compassion and courage as a Holocaust survivor has touched the hearts of millions of people who have seen the film,” Russell Smith told Deadline. “Judith’s life is a powerful rebuke to those who deny the Holocaust, and with this film and his activism, Sacha Baron Cohen will continue his advocacy to combat Holocaust denial around the world.”
Evans, who lived in Aiken, South Carolina, died over the summer. The movie is dedicated to her memory.
Agencies contributed to this report.