Sacha Baron Cohen, whose fictional Kazakh reporter Borat has sparked controversy, says he could never put himself and others in embarrassing situations if he weren't in character.

"I think I'd find it hard to," Cohen says in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine. "I think you can hide behind the characters and do things that you yourself find difficult."

Cohen's spoof documentary, "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit of Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan," follows his Kazakh TV journalist character on a cross-country trip to report back to his homeland on American culture.

The film has become a runaway hit — generating complaints and lawsuits along the way from Borat's unwitting subjects who say they were duped into making racist, sexist and anti-Semitic remarks.

Cohen, a devout Jew who keeps kosher and the Sabbath when possible, says he purposely made his character prejudiced.

"Borat essentially works as a tool," the 35-year-old British comedian tells the magazine in an interview conducted before the film's opening.

"By himself being anti-Semitic, he lets people lower their guard and expose their own prejudice, whether it's anti-Semitism or an acceptance of anti-Semitism," he says.

Cohen says doesn't like to discuss how he got people to appear on camera or take seriously Borat's preposterous questions. Revealing his tactics, he says, would be "a disaster, terrible for me."

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