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maryann johanson | #BlackLivesMatter

question of the day: Should Universal reedit ‘Bruno’ to remove the LaToya Jackson/Michael Jackson bit?

I was away from the TV for most of the day yesterday, between work stuff and a screening in the evening and dinner out afterward and a long subway ride home, so I managed to miss the TV news hysteria over Michael Jackson’s death. Now, though, I’m watching last night’s Keith Olbermann on my DVR, and he spoke to Carlos Diaz, a “correspondent” for the entertainment show Extra, who suggested that perhaps Universal should consider editing a particular scene in its upcoming movie Bruno.

Of course, hardly anyone has seen Bruno yet — I saw it earlier this week, and Diaz said he had seen the night before — which makes it hard to talk about in any meaningful way without spoiling it for you all. But the gist of it is this: Bruno, who is trying to become famous in America, is in Los Angeles filming interviews for what he hopes will be a new TV show, and he gets LaToya Jackson to talk to him on camera. In typical Sacha Baron Cohen way, he humiliates her in ways that she doesn’t even realize she’s being humiliated, and some ways that she does catch on to. Some of that has to do with her brother Michael. Michael does not appear in the film at all, but certainly there’s a spirit of poking fun at the most outré aspects of his celebrity.
Diaz was suggesting on Olbermann that all this should be excised, and that with two weeks left before the film is released, there’s certainly time to do that.

I’m generally anti-self-censorship, and I’m inclined to say that the film should be left alone. But I can appreciate that it could be disastrous for the film, especially with people reacting like this to the news of Jackson’s death:

I imagined, before its release, that Borat would have limited appeal, but it made $128 million in North America. If Universal has any hopes that Bruno will do similar business, they’ve gotta be feeling intense pressure to do whatever they can to limit any bad mojo.

The only thing I am sure of: Sacha Baron Cohen and Bruno director Larry Charles are today moaning about the awesome, terrible power of coincidence.

What do you think? Should Universal reedit Bruno to remove the LaToya Jackson/Michael Jackson bit?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me.)

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