NEW YORK (CNN) - First it was Ali 'G, then "Borat". But comedian/filmmaker Sacha Baron Cohen's latest character, Bruno, may go too far over the line and way below the belt for some.
"I thought it was outrageously funny," said Aaron Hicklin, editor of Out magazine.
"We expressed incredible concerns," said Rashad Robinson of GLAAD (The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation).
Sacha Baron Cohen's new comedy, in which he inserts himself into real-life situations as a flamboyant Austrian fashionista, is dividing the gay community. Some say it performs a valuable service.
"In its best moments, this movie very powerfully puts homophobia under the spotlight," said Hicklin.
"There are some really extraordinary things in this movie which I think expose the prejudice of everyday Americans," said Hicklin.
Others fear it will only validate those prejudices.
"We do feel like they just kind of missed the mark in many places and in overreaching really, you know, enforced stereotypes," said Robinson.
Robinson says his group tried unsuccessfully to get filmmakers to cut some scenes. GLAAD was particularly concerned about a sequence, where Bruno appears on a talk show with his newly-adopted child. The child is wearing a shirt that says "Gayby." During the interview on the show he reveals the baby's name is "O.J." saying he wanted the baby to have a traditional African name.
"For people in a place like Arkansas that recently went to the polls and overwhelmingly voted to ban gay and lesbian couples from being able to adopt children, having a movie that portrays our community in such over the top and problematic ways isn't really a welcome thing," said Robinson.
Universal issued a statement to CNN acknowledging some people might misinterpret Bruno's humor. But it added, "We believe the overwhelming majority of the audience will understand and appreciate the film's inarguably positive intentions." Aaron Hicklin sees their point.
"You'd really have to be quite dense and idiotic to think that this was in any way an accurate reflection of the way that gay men live their lives," said Hicklin.
Cohen hasn't said much in defense of his film, preferring to do most interviews as his "Bruno" character. And he's shown little inclination to tone things down.
"Don't adopt a black baby now because they're about to become out," said Sacha Baron Cohen in an interview. "They've been in for like 12 months. Yeah, everyone's gonna be getting rid of their black babies. I'm about, in one month, I'm putting mine on Ebay."
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