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Defacing of Cerne Abbas Giant

Defacing of Cerne Abbas Giant by Amazon Provokes National Trust Wrath


A movie PR team at Amazon have defaced a British monument to increase box-office takings for their new Borat film. The National Trust claims they willfully “defaced” the iconic English monument. The Cerne Abbas Giant is a 55-meter-high (180 ft) scheduled monument, a chalk hill figure located near the village of Cerne Abbas in Dorset, England. Depicting a nude male figure with an erection, and another large club in its right hand, the giant’s outline is formed by shallow trenches cut into the hill side which are backfilled with light chalk rubble.

Managed by the National Trust, English folktales suggest the giant is a deeply-ancient Celtic fertility god with the power to make childless women pregnant. However, historians and archaeologists say the first written reference to the giant only dates to 1694 AD, and that the Giant must have been created in the seventeenth-century. Either way, the figure is an iconic monument of British heritage and this is why Amazon’s defacing of the monument has caused outrage within the National Trust.

Let’s Dress Up That Stupid Giant

In a stunt that can only be described as exceptionally shallow, and painfully obvious, a huge face mask was recently stretched over the Cerne Abbas Giant’s genitals with the slogan: “Wear mask. Save live.” The mask represents the mankini worn by British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen in his 2006 movie Borat, and it is thought that this latest PR stunt was executed by the producers of Cohen’s new movie on Amazon. However, a spokesperson for the National Trust says the organization “did not give anyone permission to alter the figure,” and according to the Daily Mail the charity have slammed Amazon’s “defacement” of the famous Cerne Abbas Giant chalk figure.

The PR stunt coincides with the new Borat sequel which began streaming on Amazon Prime Video this week. This is only one of the marketing efforts by Sacha Baron Cohen’s team that have appeared on landmarks across the UK wearing medical face masks, styled like a mankinis, to promote his film's release. Earlier this week a huge inflatable Borat was floated down the River Thames in London and the the mask (mankini) appeared at Edinburgh Castle and Arthurs Seat, the Tower of London and the Angel of the North in Newcastle, but officials at the National Trust, who protect the Cerne Abbas Giant, are “furious” as they were never approached for permission to alter the heritage figure.  

We Don’t ‘See’ Any Value Here, So Defacing Is Fine

The giant hillside figure was taken over by the National Trust in 1920. A spokesman said the organization explains that they “do not encourage the defacing of the Cerne Abbas Giant as any such action may damage this fragile site, whether by someone physically attaching something to him or giving the impression of having done so, may encourage others.” Furthermore, the chalk which forms the giant figure is carefully replaced every decade and the more the ground is disturbed the quicker the Giant erodes away. Categorized as a Scheduled Ancient Monument, the chalk giant is located within a Site of Special Scientific Interest as an important chalk grassland filled with wild flowers, butterflies and other wildlife.

The new Borat film is titled Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan and it is a follow up to Cohen's 2006 movie Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, for which the comedian was criticized for making a fool of every day American folks, rather than the celebrities who are generally the focus of the Cohen’s jokes. However, to Amazon staff, this whole ordeal will be celebrated as another great PR effort and the Cerne Abbas Giant, like all the everyday American people victimized by the comedian, is just cannon-fodder on his road to Hollywood fortune.

Top image: Left: The Cerne Abbas Giant (CC by SA 3.0) The defacing of the Cerne Abbas Giant in Dorset has outraged the National Trust. Source: BNPS

By Ashley Cowie



Nagurski's picture

This guy is dangerous. His perpesctive on things is amusing, but some people take it as reality. His mind must be a mess. I would liove to see him trip on LSD.

Debra Tankerson's picture

The word racist has lost all meaning thanks to awful people like you who misuse it at the drop of a hat. A lot of the cherry picked people in that movie were sometimes crude but hardly racist yet here you are with your white savior complex virtue signalling for us darkies.

Also the movie crap...

I am as vehemently against defacaing historical sites as much as the next guy and the idea of a company doing it to advertise a movie is awful but last I checked, the “everyday Americans” showcased in the Borat films fell somewhere in between “casually racist” to “concernedly Antisemitic” to “heinously bigoted.”

Mr. Ashley sounds disturbingly defensive on behalf of such awful people...

Utter disregard for the landscape and historical sites. This is nothing less than vandalism. Amazon should be fined as well as Cohen. The man’s shows are rubbish anyway, He is nottfunny in the least

This Cohen is a nasty piece of trash. He should be given a large fine and have his movie banned until he pays it.

ashley cowie's picture


Ashley is a Scottish historian, author, and documentary filmmaker presenting original perspectives on historical problems in accessible and exciting ways.

He was raised in Wick, a small fishing village in the county of Caithness on the north east coast of... Read More

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