January 19, 2007 / 2:53 AM / 13 years ago

German gypsies in legal bid against Borat creator

BERLIN (Reuters) - A German group representing Roma interests said on Tuesday it had filed a suit to try to stop British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen showing his latest film in Germany.

“We are accusing him of defamation and inciting violence against Sinti and Roma (gypsies),” Marko Knudsen, head of the European Center of Antiziganism Research, told Reuters. Antiziganism refers to hostility to gypsies.

The group said it had filed a complaint to prosecutors over the film, “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,” saying it treated violence and discrimination against Roma peoples as acceptable behavior.

State prosecutors in Hamburg will investigate the allegations before deciding whether to take action.

In the satirical film, which is due to open in Germany on November 2, Cohen, creator of the comic character Ali G, plays Borat Sagdiyev, a fictional Kazakh television journalist who travels to the United States to report back on the American way of life.

The film’s comic barbs also target gypsies, Jews, women and many other groups.

The complaint adds to a series of protests against Cohen’s creation, whose views are not only racist and anti-Semitic but also misogynist and homophobic.

Some of the most prominent criticism has come from Kazakhstan, Borat’s central Asian homeland.

Knudsen’s group has asked for an injunction to stop the film from being shown in Germany. “We called the distributors, but they laughed at us,” he said.

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