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UN Tells ICP It Let Sacha Baron Cohen Film "Exteriors" for The Dictator, Not Inside

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 18 -- Under Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the UN has said it's getting more Hollywood friendly, allowing for example the filming of a Transformers movie in the General Assembly Hall. (Click here for Inner City Press' story on that).

  But Sacha Baron Cohen has said, of The Dictator, "we asked to shoot inside the United Nations, they actually refused. We said 'this is a pro-democracy movie'. They said 'that's the problem - we represent a lot of dictators, and they are going to be very angry by this portrayal of them so you can't shoot in there.'"

  Inner City Press on Friday asked Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky if in fact an application for interior filming in the UN was made for the Dictator, if it was denied and if so, why. All Nesirky said was that Sacha Baron Cohen is funny.

  Inner City Press reiterated the question in writing, then got this in return:

Subject: Your question on The Dictator
From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at]
Date: Fri, May 18, 2012 at 4:35 PM
To: Matthew.Lee [at]

The United Nations reviews every request on its merits and determines case by case whether access to the complex can be granted. With respect to The Dictator, the Organization did collaborate with Paramount Pictures and facilitated the filming of exterior scenes at UN Headquarters last summer.

  The question remains, why did Ban Ki-moon's UN let "Transformers" inside the GA Hall, and confine the Dictator to exterior scenes? Watch this site - and the film.

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Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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