Paramount+ Adds Controversial 2010s Comedy Movie

One of Paramount+'s newest additions may just be one of its most controversial ones yet. At the beginning of April, the streaming service added the controversial film The Dictator. You'll be able to see what all of the talk is about regarding the Sacha Baron Cohen film. Upon its release in 2012, The Dictator was met with controversy, leading some countries to censor the movie. 

The Dictator, which starred Cohen, Jason Mantzoukas, Anna Faris and Ben Kingsley, came out in 2012. The film starred Cohen as Admiral General Aladeen, a dictator of the fictional Republic of Wadiya. If you want to check out the movie, Paramount+ has got you covered. The Dictator became available to stream on the service on April 1.

As previously mentioned, The Dictator faced a bevy of criticism when it was released. In particular, much of the criticism is tied to the film's portrayal of Arabs, per The Wrap. Jack Shaheen, who is the author of Guilty: Hollywood's Verdict on Arabs After 9/11, spoke about why the film was so troubling. In addition to writing at length about the treatment of Arabs in Hollywood, Sheehan also penned the book Reel Arabs, which chronicles how they have been depicted negatively in hundreds of projects. The writer said about The Dictator, "Arabs are being ridiculed again and again and again. It's unending and has been going on for nearly a century. [Baron Cohen] just advances the idea that it's perfectly acceptable to ridicule Arabs in film."

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Not only did the movie come under fire for its portrayal of Arabs, but many also took issue with the casting. While the film is centered on a dictator who is from the Northern Africa region, there were no Arabs featured in the main cast. Dean Obeidallah, a comedian and TV commenter told The Wrap about the issue, "My big issue is Hollywood having people who are not Arab and not Indian play us — the white-washing in Hollywood. They mock us for a profit and make a lot of money so at least have us as part of creative process." Several countries banned The Dictator amid the controversy, including Belarus and Tajikistan. The film was also censored when it aired in Pakistan and Italy, the latter of which was to avoid a reference to the then-Prime Minister of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi.