“Usually I would be impressed by an act of cowardice by a faceless regime,” Baron Cohen, speaking as the Republic of Wadiya leader, said via telephone. “But this is personal.”
The Hollywood Reporter was the first to report Baron Cohen’s plan to come to the Oscars in character. Deadline then reported that the actor, who starred in the Oscar-nominated film “Hugo,” had been banned from attending the show. A rep. for the Academy clarified this to the Hollywood Reporter, saying that Baron Cohen was welcome to attend as himself.
Seizing on this great publicity for his film, Baron Cohen (in character) released a video statement to “the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Zionists” on the Republic of Wadiya’s Web site: “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 ... you will face unimaginable consequences.”
When asked on the “Today” show what those consequences would be, Baron Cohen said, “Let’s just say oil prices might be raised.” He added, “By the way, how is your eunuch Al Roker?”
Watch Aladeen’s YouTube message, and his “Today” show appearance, below.