(November 20, 2019 / JNS) British Jewish actor Sacha Baron Cohen will receive the International Leadership Award by the Anti-Defamation League for his use of comedy to expose racism, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, The Jewish Chronicle reported on Tuesday.
The actor, comedian and director, whose films include “Borat” and “The Dictator,” will accept the award at ADL’s annual “Never Is Now” summit taking place on Nov. 21 in New York City. He also created and starred in the political satire cable-television show “Who Is America?” that aired on Showtime for one season.
In it, he played the fictional Erran Morad, an Israeli anti-terrorism expert, member of the Israeli military and former Mossad agent.
“Baron Cohen has used humor and satire to expose people’s inherent biases by depicting racists, anti-Semites, 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, anti-Semitism and hate on their platforms.”
ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement that the actor’s fictional and satirical characters “have made us laugh at the kinds of hatred and prejudice that under normal circumstances would be no laughing matter.”
Greenblatt added, “There’s many ways to combat prejudice; anti-bias education, exposure and awareness are important tools. But there are other, more unorthodox ways to fight hate. Sacha’s hilarious characters fall into that latter category. They push envelopes. They cross boundaries. They evoke stereotypes and tropes, but for comedic effect. In the end they help to expose how common prejudices are in our society and our world.”
The actor most recently starred in the Netflix miniseries “The Spy” as real-life Mossad agent Eli Cohen.
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