While accepting an award from the Anti-Defamation League, or ADL, on Thursday, Sacha Baron Cohen used the opportunity to speak on the dangers of social media, specifically calling out Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. ADL is an organization that is, as its namesake suggests, is dedicated to combating "racism, hatred, and bigotry" -- things that Cohen feels Zuckerberg facilitates.

Those three things, Cohen joked, are not the names of President Donald Trump's senior advisor Stephen Miller’s Labradoodles, but rather things he’s used his career to fight against. That’s when Cohen addressed the elephant in the room: that very career of his.

As noted by The Daily Beast, which reported on Cohen’s speech, the actor's comedy career hasn’t shied away from the controversial topics. “As a comedian, I’ve tried to use my characters to get people to let down their guard and reveal what they actually believe, including their own prejudice,” he explained.

Sacha Baron Cohen
Sacha Baron Cohen has been confirmed to play the late Queen rocker Freddie Mercury, in an upcoming biopic based on the singer's life. Reuters

Cohen's speech then continued with the majority of it being hyper-focused on Zuckerberg, who recently spoke out about Facebook’s loose fact-checking and censorship principles. Zuckerberg defended Facebook’s tactic as protecting the freedom of expression, something which Cohen strongly criticized.

“This is not about limiting anyone’s free speech,” Cohen opined. “This is about giving people, including some of the most reprehensible people on earth, the biggest platform in history to reach a third of the planet.”

Cohen broadly called out “a handful of internet companies” that are “the greatest propaganda machine in history.” Yet, he feels Facebook is the center of it all, having the greatest user base, most right-wing advertisements, and the one whose CEO has defended propaganda. He likened modern America to the Roman Empire, where Zuckerberg is Caesar.

“At least that would explain his haircut,” he quipped.

Cohen’s nearly 30-minute speech highlighted his concerns with internet culture and how Facebook willingly facilitates it, seemingly encouraging it. Cohen hypothesized that if we instead focus on truth, empathy, and expert opinions "we can save democracy, we can still have a place for free speech and free expression" and live in a society where his jokes "will still work.”

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