Bruno La Toya Jackson Scene Cut

He’s dead and buried but Michael Jackson still dominates the news:

The makers of the film “Bruno” have cut a scene featuring Michael Jackson’s sister La Toya because of fears it was in poor taste following the singer’s death, a spokeswoman said Wednesday. The scene in the spoof movie featuring British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen as an outrageous gay Austrian fashion reporter was removed “out of respect” for the Jackson family, the spokeswoman said.

Baron Cohen’s last film, “Borat” enraged many people in Kazakhstan for its portrayal of a hapless Kazazh journalist who described his compatriots as primitive and incestuous.

In the offending scene in “Bruno”, he jokes about Michael while he and La Toya eat sushi off the naked bodies of workmen at his apartment and he then tries to steal Michael’s number from her phone.

The scene was removed in time for the US premiere of the film last month, in the immediate aftermath of Jackson’s death, but it was unclear at that point whether it was a temporary measure.

The notion that there are things that might be considered “in poor taste” by the standards of a Sacha Baron Cohen flick is mindboggling, indeed.  Especially when one considers the fact that the scene as described above was considered in good taste previously.

UPDATE: McSuderman actually went to see the movie last night and Megan McArdle was not amused.  Her review is worth reading in full but this point is especially worth considering:

Plus there’s always the disturbing knowledge that I’d be deeply, deeply offended if any straight man approached me the way he went after those men.

Quite right.  Taken umbrage at being unexpectedly groped or otherwise abased does not a bad person make.

Commenter Tim Maguire observes that Cohen’s “entire repertoire consists of using people’s better nature against them. Asking for the help of strangers and then, when help is given, make them look stupid and laugh at their humiliation.”   It’s occasionally quite funny because of the sheer farce.  Mostly, though, it’s rather sad.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Steve Verdon says:

    I’ve never seen any of Cohen’s stuff and the more I reviews I read of people I respect and have seen his stuff the less inclined I am to see any of his material.

  2. Furhead says:

    Borat was hard to watch in parts, just because you’re wishing he will stop and tell everybody it’s a big joke. The only “impressive” thing is that he never, ever breaks character even when the situation becomes uncomfortably absurd.

    I imagine Bruno will be similar.

  3. “entire repertoire consists of using people’s better nature against them. Asking for the help of strangers and then, when help is given, make them look stupid and laugh at their humiliation.” It’s occasionally quite funny because of the sheer farce. Mostly, though, it’s rather sad.

    I have not seen Bruno yet. But as for Borat I think you’re wrong.

    Borat didn’t make good people look like fools, Cohen made good people look like good people. In particular the driving instructor and the black guys and the old Jewish couple all looked like good people. They weren’t abused or ridiculed, Cohen has the sense to know when to turn the joke on himself.

    The famous scene where Borat has dinner with the dining club is beautiful for the sweetness and tolerance shown by the other diners.

    The only people who looked bad were the bad people: the racist frat boys, the anti-semite gun dealer.

    In fact the effectiveness of Borat was that it wasn’t just hit pieces, it found a heart, and it expressed deep affection for Americans. It was flattering to Americans. We come off looking decent, polite and tolerant for the most part, with some very definite exceptions.

  4. Bzdlyvck says: