As is his way, Sacha Baron Cohen is causing more controversy with his new show Who Is America?
In the latest episode of his satirical show, he heads to Kingman, Arizona, to tell the residents that a multimillion-dollar mosque is being built in the city and the idea goes down like a lead balloon.
In the gathering, Cohen, in full disguise, poses as a member of a development firm and tells a bunch of locals that the ‘world’s largest mosque outside of the Middle East’ is being built in their small town.
The reactions aren’t great, to say the least, with one using the word ‘terrorism‘ and another saying it will bring ‘problems’.
Since finding out it was all a set-up, and about to televised, the city of Kingman has taken to Facebook to deny claims it is inherently racist.
The lengthy statement reads: “Every city has resident voices that challenge respect and dignity for others. They are wrong and unfortunate. That was no exception on Sunday’s Who Is America? show on Showtime in which an actor baited purported residents to vociferously oppose a fictitious, supersized mosque in our city.
“Another in the audience also stated negative feelings towards African-Americans. No matter the instigation or that numerous ‘focus group’ participants don’t even live in Kingman, the show’s characterisation in the words of one member of our Kingman City Council ‘broke her heart.’
“Why? Because our community has made great strides to erase previous perceptions. We do have a mosque. We do have a robust Latino community. We do welcome tourists from all over the world, especially more and more from Asia fascinated by our Route 66 history. We do have African-Americans applying for leadership positions with the city. This is the Kingman of today, not of yesterday.
“Shrugging this off is not going to be us. We’re going to use this opportunity to keep moving our community forward with the help of many community stakeholders including the Kingman Interfaith Council.”
Kingman mayor Monica Gates, told the Washington Post: “The comments in the show, fairly or unfairly show that we still have more work to do.”
Before listing a number of steps the city intends to do, including celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month and developing a Diversity Commission.
However, not everyone has been won over by the apology and the city has come in for some serious backlash on social media.
Source: The Independent
Featured Image Credit: Showtime