Sacha Baron Cohen said that he wanted to release his Borat sequel before the presidential election to highlight then-President Donald Trump’s “misogyny, corruption and dangerous slide into authoritarianism.” He said he also had political motive to star in The Trial of the Chicago 7, to show the “importance of standing up to racism, immorality, and police brutality.”
The Borat star made the revelations in a roundtable interview with The Hollywood Reporter to promote himself and his movies for Academy Award consideration. Amazon released Borat Subsequent Moviefilm on October 23, a little more than a week before the presidential election. Netflix began streaming Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7, in which Cohen plays counter-culture icon Abbie Hoffman, earlier the same month.
“So with these two movies, the success was that I could look at myself in the mirror on November the 4th and say I did everything I could do as an actor, writer, and comedian,” Cohen said.
Sacha Baron Cohen sat down with five other actors who are being touted for this year’s Oscars — Ben Affleck, John David Washington, Gary Oldman, Delroy Lindo, and Steven Yeun.
The British star said the Borat sequel was timed to inflict damage on Trump for the presidential election.
“I felt I had to get out that movie before the election to highlight [then-President Trump’s] misogyny, corruption and dangerous slide into authoritarianism, and also the danger in conspiracy theories and lies being spread by social media and the government, which I think we saw the effect of on Jan. 6,” he said.
Cohen said he also had a political motive to make The Trial of the Chicago 7.
“I felt I had to make that as well because it showed the importance of standing up to racism, immorality and police brutality,” he said. “I wanted to remind people of the power of peaceful protest.”
The actor drew further comparison between the movie and the Capitol Hill riots of January 6.
“The insurrection that we saw in Washington — that mob was crossing state lines to incite a riot, right? That’s what the Chicago Seven were tried for, wrongly, because they were actually just going across state lines to peacefully protest an unjust [Vietnam] war.”
In actuality, the Chicago Seven were charged with crossing state lines with the intent to incite a riot.
Cohen has used the Hollywood awards season to promote more online censorship of conservatives. The actor has already received Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations for his performances in both movies. The Globes ceremony is scheduled to take place Sunday.
The Oscar nominations are set to be announced March 15.