The US Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (Glaad) has criticised Sacha Baron Cohen's new film Brüno, saying it reinforces negative stereotypes and "decreases the public's comfort with gay people".
Glaad president Jarrett Barrios, who saw an early screening of the film, said: "The movie was a well-intentioned series of sketches ? some hit the mark and some hit the gay community pretty hard and reinforce some damaging, hurtful stereotypes."
In a style similar to his popular Borat character, Baron Cohen brings Bruno, a flamboyantly gay Austrian fashionista, into ridiculous sit- uations with unsuspecting everyday people.
Universal Pictures, which released Brüno, sought Glaad's input on the film and invited staff members to advance screenings, Barrios said.
The organisation "shared a number of concerns and unfortunately the scenes that we had the biggest concerns about remained in the film", he said.
One such scene shows Bruno in a hot tub with his adopted infant son and two naked men involved in a sex act.
"Scenes like that don't help America understand the hundreds of thousands of gay families who get up every day, do the car pool then rush home to make dinner and be with their children," Barrios said.
Similarly, the movie's mock marriage scene "doesn't help Americans understand the lives of gay couples who are denied the rights and protections of marriage in 43 states".
Universal Pictures maintains Brüno is a satire that "uses provocative comedy to powerfully shed light on the absurdity of many kinds of intolerance and ignorance, including homophobia".
"While any work that dares to address relevant cultural sensitivities might be misinterpreted by some or offend others, we believe the overwhelming majority of the audience will understand and appreciate the film's inarguably positive intentions, which we've seen demonstrated whenever we have shown it," the studio said in a statement.