Sacha Baron Cohen Is Pissing People Off Again, This Time An Entire British Town

Senior Editor
07.14.14 12 Comments

Sacha Baron Cohen is great at pissing people off. There were so many Borat and Brunorelated lawsuits that I’ve lost count, and it sounds like that wacky kidder is up to his old tricks again. He’s currently shooting a James Bond spoof called ‘Grimsby,’ which is a real place in Northeast England, and much like he managed to piss off both Kazakhstan and the Romanian village in the shot above he used as a stand in for Kazakhstan, he’s using a village outside London to shoot the Grimsby scenes, and it sounds like neither place is too happy about it.

…locals from Grimsby haven’t been altogether amused by the aesthetic results, which have reportedly seen gardens covered in rubbish, graffiti scrawled on walls, cars on bricks and boarded up shops. Pictures that have emerged from the shoot show characters urinating out of windows, drunks passed out on benches and mothers offering cans of beer to children on the street.

“I’ve lived here all my life. It’s an up-and-coming area, and I’m not pleased that this is the way the world will get their first and maybe only look at Grimsby,” one resident who witnessed some of the filming, including a fight scene, told local newspaper The Grimsby Telegraph. “This area has a hell of a lot going for it, and it’s disappointing to see what they’ve done.”

In an effort to stem the tide of negative Grimsby publicity, please allow me to share the lone depiction of Grimsby I found on Getty:

Grimsby

Getty Image

See? Productive factories, hygienically-dressed workers… it seems like a real fine place.

Cohen’s first major success, Ali G, eventually saw the fictional wannabe gangster’s real-life U.K. home of Staines officially change its name to Staines-upon-Thames as part of an attempt to boost its image after having been dealt several blows by the Ali G TV show and film.

“Grimsby,” “Staines…” I feel like he’s choosing these places based on the name alone. Shithole Arizona better watch its back.

Baron Cohen’s 2008 mockumentary Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan came under fire following claims that it promoted intolerance toward Europe’s Roma or “gypsy” population, although the character Borat’s bigotry was in a satirical context. Despite banning the film and threatening to sue Baron Cohen for portraying the country as racist, sexist and primitive, the government of Kazakhstan later thanked the film for boosting tourism. [THR]

See, disparaged locales of the world, there’s no such thing as bad publicity. Where do you think the fancy pants tourists of the world want to go when they’re done visiting the historical sites, anyway? To some anywheresville strip mall town that’s “up and coming” and has a Jamba Juice now and everything, or to an actual decaying dystopian relic of a bygone era? No one wants to go to your town that’s sort of dull but mostly pretty okay I guess if you keep your expectations low. Trust me on this, I grew up Fresno County.

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