Sacha Baron Cohen has stepped in after some of his fans were fined for wearing Borat-style mankinis while on holiday, with the British-born actor and comedian offering to foot the bill.
Last week the BBC reported that six Czech men were arrested in Astana, Kazakhstan for sporting the revealing swimwear and wigs while attempting to take a group photo, with each charged around $67 for “minor hooliganism”.
Seeing the story, Cohen posted on Facebook that he would gladly pay the men’s fines, with the prank clearly inspired by his smash-hit 2006 movie Borat (which saw Cohen play an eccentric Kazakhstani who travels to America).
To my Czech mates who were arrested. Send me your details and proof that it was you, and I'll pay your fine. email@example.com://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-41982339
“To my Czech mates who were arrested,” Cohen wrote on Monday night, “send me your details and proof that it was you, and I’ll pay your fine,” adding an email address where they could get in touch – firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s unclear whether the men will take up his offer, but the situation is the latest in a long line of struggles between Kazakhstan and the Borat phenomenon, with the nation insulted by its depiction as a backwards country in Cohen’s film (full title: Borat! Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan).
At the time of the film’s release authorities threatened him with lawsuits, banned him from using its .kz domain and even suggested the film could be banned in Kazakhstan altogether.
Still, in recent years they seemed to have thawed on the movie slightly, with Borat raising the country’s profile worldwide and the then-foreign minister saying in 2012 that he was “grateful” to Cohen for increasing tourism to Kazakhstan. Just so long as they are fully clothed, apparently…