On 'Bruno,' MSNBC Gets the Message

“Bruno,” a controversial movie about a gay Austrian fashionista is set to debut in the United States on July 10, but the film has already garnered an abundance of media attention due to its over-the-top portrayal of homosexuals. On June 29, MSNBC’s “Morning Meeting” featured a segment the was nothing short of a promotion for the film.

 “Bruno” stars Sacha Baron Cohen, best known for his controversial 2006 film “Borat,” as well as for his recent MTV Movie Award stunt in which he in character as Bruno, dropped into the theater on a harness and exposed his bare back side to rapper Eminem.

“Morning Meeting” host Dylan Ratigan began by stating: “The films makers say they are using satire to draw on gay stereotypes. They also add that if the audience feels uncomfortable then they’ve done their jobs.” But people interviewed at a Gay Pride event in New York seemed to merely find the movie funny. TV and movie producer Gavin Polone stated, “This is an important movie and I think it’s good for the gay community.” The screen stated: Bruno: Friend or Foe? Movie Creators Say “Bruno” is Supposed to Satirize Homophobia.

Polone went on to say, “I think it’s great that the entertainment industry is putting out a movie that really is about something.”  “Buno” is about “pervasive strong and crude sexual content, graphic nudity and language,” according to its R-rating. But Polone maintained that movie goers “are going to think about the issues involved” and the movie “will promote civil rights.”

MSNBC political analyst Lawrence O’Donnell gushed that he “was a huge fan of Sacha Baron Cohen,” but admitted he hadn’t seen “Bruno” and wasn’t sure about its impact. “I don’t see what the big important message would be in this movie,” he said.

Polone, however, was adamant: “After seeing this movie, I was made so uncomfortable that it forced me to think, ‘You know, maybe there’s some things inside me that have come through the culture that have caused me to have little levels of discomfort with a certain segment population who I should think are just the same as everybody else.”

 “The Washington Post’s” Jonathan Capehart tried to inject some reality into the conversation. “Calling ‘Bruno’ the message movie of 2009 I think also goes a little too far,” he said. Capehart, who hasn’t seen the movie either, said, “‘Bruno’ is nothing but [the character] Jack from ‘Will and Grace’ basically on crack.”

MSNBC certainly did a good job of giving free press to the controversial film, but “Morning Meeting” inflated its importance and ignored any moral considerations.