'Bruno' photos infuriate schools chief

June 30, 2009 at 1:23 AM
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LOS ANGELES, June 30 (UPI) -- Los Angeles' top school official says he is infuriated by published photos of "Bruno" star Sacha Baron Cohen doing drills with a high school football team.

The photos, part of a cover story for GQ, show the actor wearing only shoulder pads, tight red shorts, an athletic supporter and socks while doing drills with the Birmingham High football team.

"I hold the principal and the athletic director accountable, and I have asked the local district superintendent to take appropriate action," Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Ramon Cortines told the Daily News of Los Angeles.

School district officials told the News Principal Marsha Coates and Athletic Director Richard Prizant knew about the photo shoot. Coates declined comment, and Prizant could not be reached, the newspaper said.

Jean Brown, the local district superintendent for the West San Fernando Valley, told the News she was talking with Birmingham officials.

The photos have intensified debate over whether Birmingham should be able to convert to a charter school. The school board is to vote on the plan Wednesday.

"This recent GQ thing has not helped matters," the Los Angeles Times quoted Cortines as saying. "We've allowed our students to be used, and not in the most glamorous circumstances either."

"Bruno" is the title character in Baron Cohen's new comedy film about a flamboyantly gay Austrian designer who goes to Los Angeles to try to make it in the fashion world.

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