"The Dictator" Director Denies Film Is Offensive to Arab-Americans
(NEW YORK) -- Sacha Baron Cohen's new comedy, The Dictator, has irked some Arab-American groups who feel his character, a fictional North African dictator named Adm. Gen. Aladeen, casts an unflattering light on them.
For example, Nadia Tonova, director of the National Network for Arab American Communities, tells E! News, "I have not seen the film, but based on the trailer and interviews that I have seen him do in character, it really seems to be that it's perpetuating a negative stereotype against Arabs and therefore Arab-Americans."
Tonova previously criticized Cohen after he appeared on the Oscars red carpet as Aladeen and pretended to spill the ashes of the late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il onto Ryan Seacrest.
The director of the film, Larry Charles, rejects the notion that the character is offensive to Arab-Americans.
He tells ABC News Radio that Aladeen was inspired by several past dictators, such as Moammar Gadhafi, Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong Il, Augusto Pinochet and Idi Amin.
"There's a wide range historically of dictators that you can draw from and they share many personality traits. It's not an ethnic thing. It's a personality disorder, in a sense," he says.
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