Sacha Baron Cohen responds to Oscars' warning against "The Dictator" stunt

Sacha Baron Cohen as General Aladeen in "The Dictator." Paramount Pictures

Sacha Baron Cohen as General Aladeen in "The Dictator."
Paramount Pictures

(CBS) Updated 9:21 a.m. ET

Sacha Baron Cohen responded Friday morning to Academy Awards organizers' warnings not to arrive at the ceremony as his character from "The Dictator" - by issuing a statement as his character from "The Dictator."

The actor, as totalitarian strongman General Aladeen, released a video condemning the "Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Zionists" for banning him from the show (to be clear: Cohen has not been banned from the Oscars, but the Academy has made it known it doesn't want him showing up in character).

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"While I applaud the Academy for taking away my right to free speech, I warn you that if you do not lift your sanctions and give me my tickets back by 12 p.m. on Sunday, you will face unimaginable consequences," he said.

He finished the statement by saying, "Death to the West! Death to America! And good luck, [Oscars host] Billy Crystal!"

The Hollywood Reporter reported Tuesday that Cohen, who was invited to attend the ceremony as part of the cast of best picture nominee "Hugo," planned to arrive in character as Aladeen.

This wouldn't be the first time Cohen showed up at an event in character to promote his films: In 2006, he arrived at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival dressed up as the main character from "Borat." He also appeared as gay fashionista Bruno at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, where he was suspended above the audience and crashed onto Eminem, who stormed out (it later emerged that the stunt had been planned in advance).

On Thursday, an Oscars rep denied an online report that the actor's ticket to Hollywood's big night had been rescinded over the possible publicity stunt.

"We haven't banned him," the rep told THR. "We're just waiting to hear what he's going to do."

"The Dictator" is scheduled for a May 11 release.

  • Jessica Derschowitz

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