Borat Says ‘Not Nice!’ - After Lobbying Facebook to Silence Content, Actor Sacha Baron Cohen Finds Himself Silenced by Facebook

MATT SAYLES

 

Once again statists are baffled when their call for more oversight leads to their own muzzling.

The irony was so thick that my anemia has cleared up. A Hollywood celebrity comes forward with a declaration that social media needed to clamp down on disinformation and conspiracy theories, in order to ‘’save democracy’’. This call for silencing voices led to his own voice becoming silenced, in the very fashion in which he demanded they employ.

Sacha Baron Cohen has made a career out of playing satirical characters in real life in order to provoke reactions on camera for comedic value. His most famous is the fictional East European portrayal of Borat, and he has a sequel to his hit film with the titular character now out on Amazon Prime. To coincide with the release the comedy actor wrote a serious editorial for Time Magazine to address the spread of disinformation on FaceBook — because what we need is a lecture on the dangers of false information from a performer who has made a career out of playing fake characters and deceiving people for fun and profit.

 Cohen’s concern is that by not regulating the flow of information, and telling us what is best for us, the social media platform could allow unaccounted for influence on unwary citizens. ‘’This toxic brew has exploded into the open and—with just weeks until the election—these conspiracies threaten to kill democracy as we know it.’’ I believe we Americans should be grateful a British citizen exhibits such interest in our own self-interests.

In order to explain why FaceBook needs to shut down content Cohen lists a number of objectionable things spoken by President Trump, as well as invoking Q-anon conspiracy theories (theories we only ever really hear from leftists discussing Q-anon.) Sacha mentions the times that Trump supporters have ‘’attacked innocent people’’, but of course never brings up the cases of Trump supporters who have been attacked — with some actually killed this year. This exposes the vacancy of Cohen’s complaint because — of course — he only sees the disinformation and resulting violence coming from the right.

His refusal to see the same methods deriving from both sides is due to Cohen’s own blind spot. While complaining about disinformation, he supplies ”proof’’ that would be listed under the very category he lays out. He takes Trump quotes out of context, and he even forwards disproven information, such as Trump’s alleged support of white supremacists. By this end his Time column should be blocked by FaceBook, based on his own declaration. This confusing dual stance is not too surprising given the content Cohen normally traffics in with his films.

AP/Reuters Feed Library

The ‘’Borat’’ movies are rife with scenes of him delivering fraudulent scenarios in order to ridicule those on the right; leftist disinformation by definition. Even the premise of these films is rooted in fraud. Much of the humor is centered on Cohen allegedly duping unknown individuals with his faux character deliveries, yet to buy into this we have to ignore the fact these people supposedly believe him to be a foreigner, for example, yet are oblivious to numerous cameramen filming these supposedly candid moments. In this fashion Cohen is lying to his preferred audience.

This oblivious position has led to the deepest of ironies. While calling out for FaceBook to cancel and silence accounts which dispense misinformation, the social media outlet has blocked Cohen’s own post regarding his column in Time. The cover photo displayed an individual with a facemask declaring the pandemic to be a hoax, and this image triggered the FaceBook censors. Cohen found that he was on the receiving end of the very silencing practice he was calling for FaceBook to enforce.

This seems a just result, considering the level of news that Cohen generated last week. His new film received copious publicity when he released a snippet of video that alleged how Trump advisor Rudy Giuliani was filmed in a compromising position with the young co-star of his latest title. The press exploded on this story, seemingly unbothered by Cohen’s frequent subterfuge in his films. There is no way of knowing how much lying and falsehoods had been in use to get Giuliani in this position, and we have no control over the context of the video that is displayed. 

Here is where the biggest laugh is to be found from Cohen’s concern post. The man who is gravely worried over false information being used to influence the election was perfectly at ease releasing questionable content on his own to smear a member of the Trump administration and possibly sway minds regarding the election. FaceBook needs to clean up its act and get these fake stories blocked and silenced. 

Just don’t block the fake videos and staged scenes from Cohen’s films — those are a completely different and fully acceptable example of acceptable falsehoods…for some reason.