The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation said Friday that “Bruno,” the new film starring Sacha Baron Cohen, reinforces negative stereotypes and “decreases the public’s comfort with gay people.”
GLAAD president Jarrett Barrios, who saw an early screening of the film, said that “the movie was a well-intentioned series of sketches — some hit the mark and some hit the gay community pretty hard and reinforce some damaging, hurtful stereotypes.”
In a style similar to his popular Borat character, Baron Cohen brings Bruno, a flamboyantly gay Austrian fashionista, into ridiculous situations with unsuspecting everyday people.
Universal Pictures, which released “Bruno,” sought GLAAD’s input on the film and invited staff members to advance screenings, Barrios said.
The organization “shared a number of concerns, and unfortunately, the scenes that we had the biggest concerns about remained in the film,” Barrios said.
One such scene shows Bruno in a hot tub with his adopted infant son and two naked men involved in a sex act.
“Scenes like that don’t help America understand the hundreds of thousands of gay families who get up every day, do the carpool then rush home to make dinner and be with their children,” Barrios said.
Similarly, the movie’s mock marriage scene “doesn’t help Americans understand the lives of gay couples who are denied the rights and protections of marriage in 43 states,” he said.
Universal Pictures maintains that “Bruno” is a satire that “uses provocative comedy to powerfully shed light on the absurdity of many kinds of intolerance and ignorance, including homophobia.”
“While any work that dares to address relevant cultural sensitivities might be misinterpreted by some or offend others, we believe the overwhelming majority of the audience will understand and appreciate the film’s inarguably positive intentions, which we’ve seen demonstrated whenever we have shown it,” the studio said in a statement.
Barrios said that while he believes the filmmakers had good intentions and that some moviegoers will see the satire, “some people in the gay community will be as troubled as GLAAD is that the movie doesn’t decrease homophobia, but decreases the public’s comfort with gay people.”