A British comedian who uses a boorish, sexist and racist Kazakh alter ego called Borat to poke fun at interviewees has responded to a legal threat from the Kazakh authorities by satirically welcoming the move.
Sacha Baron Cohen, who plays the spoof Kazakh television reporter in his "Da Ali G Show," incurred the wrath of Kazakhstan's Foreign Ministry this month after appearing as Borat at the annual MTV Europe Music Awards.
He described shooting dogs for fun and said his wife could not leave Kazakhstan as she was a woman. The Foreign Ministry said his behavior was unacceptable and that Cohen might be serving political orders to tarnish Kazakhstan's reputation.
Responding in character as Borat, Cohen, who is Jewish, said: "I like to state, I have no connection with Mr Cohen and fully support my government's position to sue this Jew."
"Since 2003 ... Kazakhstan is as civilized as any other country in the world," he said on his website, www.borat.kz.
"Women can now travel on inside of bus, homosexuals no longer have to wear blue hat and age of consent has been raised to eight years old."
One Western diplomat in the Central Asian state's biggest city Almaty said he at least partly sympathized with the Kazakh government in trying to set the record straight.
"They are damned if they do (respond) and damned if they don't," he said. "It's sort of unfortunate that he hit upon Kazakhstan."
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