I am in love with Sacha Baron Cohen.
I am so in love with Sacha Baron Cohen, and this love is a little embarrassing. I’ve never published a love letter to a crush before, but wow — he deserves it.
Now, to start my love letter, I want to emphasize this: I truly believe the world is sleeping on Sacha Baron Cohen’s hotness. Whether he’s in a tux on the cover of GQ or wearing a bathrobe as a ‘60s hippie in The Trial of the Chicago 7, there’s something about Baron Cohen’s jawline and dark, wavy hair that drives me crazy. I think Baron Cohen is hot whether he’s grown a goofy Borat mustache or dressed up as a dashing Israeli spy. I don’t know what it is about Baron Cohen that I find so hot — except that it definitely has something to do with his chest hair.
But I’m not just here to write about how Sacha Baron Cohen is supremely attractive — he’s also a comedic genius, a talented actor, a mastermind filmmaker, and a passionate activist. And he’s smart, too — Did you know that he has a B.A. in History from Cambridge? He did his thesis on Jewish activists in the Civil Rights movement! (I also did my thesis on Jewish history — we have so much in common!)
I first fell in love with Baron Cohen when he spoke at the Anti-Defamation League’s Never Is Now summit in January 2020. As the recipient of ADL’s International Leadership Award, Baron Cohen gave the keynote address. His 25-minute speech went viral, viewed millions of times around the world. In it, Baron Cohen railed against Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and the rest of the “Silicon Six,” i.e., the CEOs of Twitter, YouTube, Google, and Google’s parent company, Alphabet. “Six unelected individuals in Silicon Valley imposing their vision on the rest of the world, unaccountable to any government and acting like they’re above the reach of law. It’s like we’re living in the Roman Empire, and Mark Zuckerberg is Caesar,” Baron Cohen said. “At least that would explain his haircut.”
He also spoke passionately about the rise of intentional misinformation, conspiracy, fake news, indifference to hate on social media, and the existential threat it poses in 2020. “I believe that our pluralistic democracies are on a precipice,” Baron Cohen said, “and that the next 12 months, and the role of social media, could be determinant.” Over the following months, Baron Cohen was an ardent advocate for the ADL’s Stop Hate for Profit campaign.
Baron Cohen’s support of the Stop Hate for Profit campaign kicked off a global boycott from businesses and celebrities in September, for which ADL President Jonathan Greenblatt praised Baron Cohen’s “singular leadership.” On October 12, Facebook announced they are finally changing their hate speech policy to include Holocaust distortion and denial.
October, it seems, is Sacha Baron Cohen’s month. In addition to Stop Hate for Profit’s win against Facebook and his birthday (he turned 49), he gifted the world not one, but two new SBC films: The Trial of the Chicago 7 and Borat Subsequent Moviefilm. Both films have garnered critical acclaim — and a “Certified Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes — and in both films, Baron Cohen shines.
In Chicago 7, Baron Cohen delivers a stunning performance as the Jewish activist Abbie Hoffman. In an ensemble film bursting at the seams with talent, Baron Cohen soars above the rest, cementing his place not just as a comedic genius but a masterful actor. The role allows Baron Cohen to casually flaunt his ability to deliver director Aaron Sorkin’s tongue-twisting wit while simultaneously proving the fact that he is a heavyweight in dramatic acting — as if there is anything left to prove.
In Borat, Baron Cohen cements his legacy as a character chameleon, shifting effortlessly into different Americans’ parodies because his character, Borat Sagdiyev, is now too recognizable to conduct interviews.
In both films, Baron Cohen plays characters that challenge the audience. Hoffman is smarmy and immature, and Borat is — well, Borat. But Baron Cohen’s greatest achievement in the films is his ability to let the audience in on the joke, showing his characters’ vulnerability and, in turn, showcasing his activism.
Sacha Baron Cohen utilizes Borat to continue his criticism of Facebook and its policy on Holocaust denial. When Borat learns via Facebook that the Holocaust is a hoax, he is crushed. His disappointment leads him to a synagogue, where he finds a Holocaust survivor named Judith Dim Evans.
While Baron Cohen remains in character as the antisemitic Borat, the scene has a subdued tone. Borat sips soup and receives a kiss on the cheek from Evans. The scene with Evans has been the source of controversy. Evans’ daughter filed a lawsuit against Baron Cohen, claiming that Evans was “horrified and upset” when she learned the film was not a documentary, but a satirical comedy. However, after the film’s premiere, Baron Cohen revealed he broke character (something he has never done before) to let Evans in on the joke. Then, he set up a website to tell her story and dedicated the film to the survivor, who passed away this year. The lawsuit has now been dismissed, and Sacha Baron Cohen is working with Amazon to release Evans’ full story.
Baron Cohen ends Borat with a call to action: vote. He doesn’t fall silent when the credits roll, either, continuing to criticize President Trump openly. On October 27, Baron Cohen tweeted, “Donald Trump says I’m a creep. I say he’s an existential threat to democracy. That’s why I released Borat before the election. There’s only one week left. Please VOTE! (Or you will be execute).”
Sacha Baron Cohen is a cinematic powerhouse, an ardent activist, and won’t hesitate to call Trump out. He’s a certified mensch. I’m in love with him, and you should be, too.
(And if you’re reading this, Sacha — may I call you Sacha? — I realize you’re married and have a beautiful family with the equally talented and gorgeous Isla Fisher, but I deeply admire your work and talent. If you ever want to chat sometime, I promise to keep my cool for at least four minutes.)
Header image design by Emily Burack. Photo of Sacha by Vera Anderson/WireImage; background via Getty Images.