Malaysia Yanks Pitt's Handsome Face

In this July 14, 2009 photo, Bernie Baran sits at his home in Woburn, Mass. Baran was recently released from prison after serving 21 years for a series of sexual attacks at a day care center in the Berkshires. A judge overturned his conviction and ordered a new trial, citing the incompetence of his trial lawyer and the videotapes, which had recently resurfaced after years of being lost among boxes of legal evidence. In May, the district attorney dropped all charges against Baran.
AP Photo/Elise Amendola
Actor Brad Pitt might be much sought after for magazine covers and posters worldwide, but the Malaysian government believes the Hollywood star's appearance in a recent series of car advertisements in this region was "an insult to Asians."

Deputy Information Minister Zainuddin Maidin said Monday that advertisements featuring models and personalities who don't look Asian would "plant a sense of inferiority among Asians," the national news agency Bernama reported.

"Why must we use their faces in our advertisements?" Zainuddin was quoted as saying. "Aren't our own people handsome enough?"

Zainuddin said the government recently pulled the plug on advertisements for Toyota Altis cars featuring Pitt. The campaign ran for at least several weeks in mid-2002 in newspapers and on television in Malaysia and many other Asian countries.

"We canceled the ads because they were considered an insult to Asians," he said.