British funnyman Sacha Baron Cohen has responded to the controversy over his appearance at the Oscars by posting a spoof video in character asThe Dictatordemanding the return of his tickets.
The Bruno star hit headlines this week after he was reportedly banned from turning up at the Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday in costume as Admiral General Aladeen, the leader of fictional country Wadiya, from his latest movie.
Oscars bosses spoke out to insist he hadn't been told to stay away, but Cohen has now released a video to address the controversy. He appears in character in the film and orders Oscars chiefs to "lift sanctions" and return his tickets by 12pm on Sunday.
He says, "Good morning... On behalf of the nation of Wadiya, I am outraged at being banned from the Oscars by the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences.
"While I abhor the Academy for taking away my right to free speech, I warn you that if you do not lift your sanctions and give me my tickets back by 12pm on Sunday, you will face unimaginable consequences..."
He goes to add, "On top of all of this, I paid Hilary Swank $2 million to be my date and she will not refund a penny. My Sunday calendar is now as empty as a North Korean grocery store... Death to the west, death to America and good luck (Oscars host) Billy Crystals (sic). You are fantastic."