Sacha Baron Cohen to be honoured for ‘imagination and creativity’ fighting hate

Sacha Baron Cohen to be honoured for ‘imagination and creativity’ fighting hate

Anti-Defamation League will be recognising the British actor famed for his role as Ali G, Borat and more recently Israeli spy Eli Cohen

Sacha Baron Cohen
Sacha Baron Cohen

Sacha Baron Cohen will be honoured by the Anti-Defamation League for his “vision, imagination and creativity.”

Cohen, who most recently portrayed the late Israeli spy Eli Cohen in a Netflix series, will receive the International Leadership Award during the civil rights organisation’s Never is Now summit on antisemitism and hate. The summit will be held Thursday in New York City.

The actor, comedian and director, whose political satire films include Ali G, Borat, and The Dictator, will deliver a keynote address.

“Baron Cohen has used humour and satire to expose people’s inherent biases by depicting racists, antisemites, neo-Nazis, Islamophobes and others as deeply flawed, ordinary people whose prejudices are, ultimately, laughable,” the ADL said in a statement. “As a celebrity and public figure, he’s not shied away from taking on tough subjects off-screen, having recently spoken out about the failure of social media companies to adequately address the rampant racism, antisemitism and hate on their platforms.”

ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in the statement that Cohen’s characters “help to expose how common prejudices are in our society and our world.”

“There’s many ways to combat prejudice, and anti-bias education, exposure and awareness are important tools. But there are other, more unorthodox ways to fight hate,” Greenblatt said. “Sacha’s hilarious characters fall into that latter category. They push envelopes. They cross boundaries. They evoke stereotypes and tropes, but for comedic effect.”

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