United States: Borat character cited in Kazakh guide book

Sasha Baron Cohen dressed as Borat with fans behind him Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Sacha Baron Cohen appears in character as Borat

A fictional character associated with Borat - a controversial spoof documentary about a Kazakh journalist - has found its way into a guide book handed out by the Kazakh embassy in Washington, reports say.

The hard-back volume mentions someone called Billy Sexcrime in a section about Kazakh culture and traditions, suggesting he is a popular artist in Kazakhstan, the Washington City Paper reports. In fact, he is a character from Borat, a film about a made-up Kazakh TV reporter - Borat Sagdiev - who travels to the US to learn about the American way of life. The book was being handed out at a Passport DC event, when embassies open their doors to the public.

Billy Sexcrime is never actually seen on screen, but he is mentioned in a promotional interview given in 2006 by Sacha Baron Cohen, the actor who plays Borat. "It's unclear how a Borat character snuck into a Kazakhstan embassy publication, whether due to an in-house mistake or prank by a third party," the newspaper says. The Kazakh media are also confused. Time.kz website says no Kazakh performer appears to exist under the name Billy Sexcrime. "The same section about modern music also mentions someone called Super Star. We've never heard of them either," it says. The Kazakh embassy hasn't commented on the matter.

Sacha Baron Cohen has been criticised for the way the film pokes fun at Kazakhstan. "We consider this movie offensive, a complete lie and nonsense," one film distribution manager said after Borat premiered in 2006. And Deputy Foreign Minister Rakhat Aliyev invited Cohen to visit the country so he could see for himself that "women drive cars, wine is made of grapes, and Jews are free to go to synagogues". Aliyev said at the time: "I understand that the feelings of many people are hurt by Cohen's show. But we must have a sense of humour and respect the creative freedom of others."

Image copyright Getty Images

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