At this past weekend’s prestigious Kennedy Center Honors, British actor and famed satirist Sacha Baron Cohen reprised his role as the bumbling Kazakh journalist – Borat Sagdiyev – to take aim at controversial rapper Kanye West (legally known as Ye).
“Before I proceed, I will say I am very upset about the antisemitism in US and A. It not fair. Kazakhstan is #1 Jew-crushing nation. Stop stealing our hobby. Stop the steal! Stop the steal!” said Sacha Baron Cohen as Borat (via The Guardian), causing some guests to erupt in laughter while others sat awkwardly silent.
Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat) added: “Your Kanye, he tried to move to Kazakhstan and even changed his name to Kazakhstan-ye West. But we said: No, he too antisemitic, even for us.”
What followed was a short parody of U2’s song ‘With Or Without You,’ which – as many of you may have already deduced – was changed to ‘With Or Without Jews’; for reference, U2 were actually in attendance. He interrupted himself midway and asked: “What’s the problem? They loved this at Mar-a-Lago. They chose Without Jews.”
As many of you may know, Kanye West has been facing accusations of antisemitism with nobody to blame but himself. It began with publicly vowing to go DEFCON 3 on the Jewish people, before later praising Adolf Hitler on the equally-controversial conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ Infowars talk show, and facing a permanent ban from Elon Musk’s Twitter for posting an image of a swastika.
The damage incurred by his latest spiral hasn’t just been limited to reputation alone, but also quantifiable in a financial sense. With everyone from GAP, Adidas, and Balenciaga to his own bank in JPMorgan Chase condemning him by officially cutting ties, Kanye West’s net worth has reportedly plummeted from $1.5 billion to $400 million.
Consistent with the mockery featured in Borat 2 – AKA Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan – Sacha Baron Cohen also targeted former US president slash 2024 US presidential candidate Donald Trump, who wasn’t actually present.
“I know the president of US and A is here. Where are you, Mr Trump?” Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat) said to the audience.
Addressing current US President Joe Biden, he continued: “You don’t look so good. Where has your glorious big belly gone? And your pretty orange skin has become pale.”
There was a crack about whether Russia’s Vladimir Putin and the nerve agent novichok were responsible.
“But I see you have a new wife. Wawawoooah! She is very erotic. I must look away before I get a Bono.”
See: jester’s privilege.