Working Title Films' Ali G IndaHouse, the feature debut of UK comedian Sacha Baron Cohen's spoof gangsta rapper, is heading for a showdown with. UK TV advertising watchdog BACC.
Ali G's backer Universal said it has been told by BACC to get permission from the Queen, president George W Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair before it will approve the film's TV adverts. BACC has vetoed seven proposed spots for the comedy, which UIP is releasing in the UK in less than three weeks.
"Is this because of Ali G or a general policy'" said David Livingstone, head of marketing at Universal Pictures International. "I don't know when BACC was put in charge of satire."
BACC, which was not available for comment, may be trying to avoid the recent controversy that erupted over the comedian's outburst on UK national station Radio 1. DJ Sara Cox was forced to make an on-air apology after Ali G swore repeatedly during a live interview on a breakfast show.
One proposed advert features Ali G being asked if he likes President Bush - "Me like Bush," he replies. Another has the line 'Blair Beware', while another shows him accidentally pulling down the Queen's skirt and declaring "respect".
"Why are you allowed to have a thirty minute show like Spitting Image lampooning everybody, but the words 'Blair Beware' can't even be aired after 10.00pm'" Livingstone said. "There appears to be no room for any level of innuendo. This film is wall-to-wall innuendo."
BACC has also vetoed an advert using the film's tie-in song, Me Julie. Despite the song having heavy airplay on national radio and TV, BACC is apparently objecting to Ali G and popstar Shaggy singing "dong da dong dong dong".
"Are they saying that 'dong' is a rude word'" said Livingstone.
Livingstone said that Universal is still negotiating with BACC. He pointed out that the adverts are already toned down for TV consumption. When Ali G pulls down the Queen's skirt in the cinema trailer for the film, he says "Shaven haven - respect".