Posters for “Borat 2” showing Sacha Baron Cohen nearly naked and wearing a ring engraved with the word Allah in Arabic have been removed from buses in the Parisian suburb of Essonne.
The regional transportation group TICE took down the posters following a backlash that erupted over the weekend that saw some people, including bus drivers, condemn the posters as “provocative,” “insulting” and “disrespectful” toward the Muslim religion.
The suburb of Essonne has been shaken up in recent weeks by the murder of Samuel Paty, a French middle-school teacher who was beheaded after showing cartoons to his students of the Prophet Muhammad from the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. The murder of Paty sent shockwaves through the entire country. The issue of mocking religion has long been sensitive in France. Charlie Hebdo was the target of a terrorist attack in 2015 that decimated its newsroom. A trial for this attack has been underway in Paris since September.
Besides the murder of Paty, the country recently saw two other terrorist attacks — the killing of three people in a church in Nice, and the assaults of two people in front of the former Charlie Hebdo office.
While TICE opted to remove posters from its buses in Essonne, the Parisian public transportation group RATP refused to take them down, according to Le Figaro newspaper. The RATP told Le Figaro that it would not pull the campaign for “Borat 2” from its buses and subways under any circumstances. Since being released on Amazon Prime last month, “Borat Subsequent Film” has stirred controversy, notably due to a compromising scene with President Donald Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani.