Dictators aren’t known to take threats to their power lightly. That’s why Admiral General Shabazz Aladeen – the star of the upcoming film The Dictator – is going on the record against the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which banned the totalitarian ruler from Sunday’s Oscars.
If you’ve never heard of Admiral Gen. Aladeen, don’t be alarmed. He’s incapable of worldwide destruction, if only because of the fact that he’s fictional But it’s worth noting that the dictator does have a legitimate invite to the Oscars, because he’s portrayed by Sacha Baron Cohen, who co-starred in Martin Scorcese’s Hugo, which has been nominated for 11 Academy awards.
Cohen, of Borat and Da Ali G Show fame, wasn’t planning on a conventional tux for Sunday’s red carpet. He instead aired his intentions to dress as the title character from The Dictator, prompting major pushback from the Academy, who feared his usual crazy antics at the show. Specifically, they frowned upon Cohen using the Oscars’ red carpet to promote his film – a dig that Adm. Gen. Aladeen didn’t take too well. So the seemingly tech-savvy tyrant sat down in front of a camera to air his grievances.
Dressed fully in the olive-colored army garb of the Adm. Gen. Aladeen, Cohen criticizes the Academy in using their own tactics against them. “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 says. He blasts the “Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Zionists” for wanting to deny him admission. And later, he complained about the scheduling headache, telling the Today show that he had to “delay 30 executions” in order to craft his response.
The Academy made it clear Wednesday evening that they hadn’t banned Cohen himself, but simply his Dictator character. “We don’t think it’s appropriate,” an Academy spokesman told The Hollywood Reporter about Cohen’s purported publicity stunt. “But his tickets haven’t been pulled. We’re waiting to hear back.” Will they consider this the response they were waiting for?
His taped message, which was first aired on his “official government website,” was not all negative. He closed the recording showing where his true allegiances lie: “Death to the West! Death to America! And good luck, Billy Crystals!” Whether he sees Crystal in person or is forced to watch from the confines of his Wadiya palace, it’s clear that Cohen has drummed up a solid showing of publicity without even having to walk the red carpet.