Paris bus companies have decided to remove posters for Borat Subsequent Moviefilm from their services after they caused controversy within the Muslim community.
The marketing for the comedy sequel features Sacha Baron Cohen as his Kazakh journalist alter ego, reclining in a surgical mask mankini and wearing a ring inscribed with the word “Allah” in Arabic.
The Times reports that numerous bus companies have been receiving requests from passengers and drivers to remove the posters from their vehicles, with some companies choosing to do so.
This is a particularly febrile issue given inflamed tensions following the the killing of three people at a church in Nice and the murder of teacher Samuel Paty after he showed students a Charlie Hebdo cartoon featuring the Prophet Muhammad.
oh regardez un example de tenue républicaine avec la pub de borat sur les bus ! pic.twitter.com/EwOyZbXIZI
— depressed redhead (@firehairedreamr) November 2, 2020
The TICE network in the southern suburb of Évry confirmed they have removed the posters, though they cited “inappropriate” humour and denied it was due to religious controversy.
State-owned public transport operator RATP, meanwhile, told The Times it would “under no circumstances take this campaign off our network”.
RATP also denied claims that the posters had led to attacks on buses in the city, stating that such vandalism was common over the Halloween period.
The Sun, citing French publication Le Parisien, reported that the posters had been called “provocative” and “lacking respect” for Islam.
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm has caused controversy in a number of arenas since it was released on Amazon Prime Video last month.
Donald Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani also spoke out against his appearance in the film, in which he appeared to reach into his trousers while reclining on a bed next to actor Maria Bakalova, whom he believed to be a 15-year-old girl.
Variety reported yesterday that the film is the second most streamed release of 2020 on subscription platforms this year, behind only the Disney+ release of a performance of Hamilton.
Watch: Trailer for Borat Subsequent Moviefilm