Sacha Baron Cohen stars in a new Showtime series called “Who Is America?”
And in his recording process, he’s duped many notable conservatives into coming onto his show. The “Borat” comedian poses as various ridiculous characters on the program and attempts to get prominent conservatives to do or say outrageous things.
Lying about his identity is not the only issue for Cohen.
His show features the controversial Kurt Metzger as a writer, as noted on its IMDb page in the writing credits. Metzger, once employed by Amy Schumer, has a history of mocking sexual assault victims online. He once described himself as “pro-rape” in an interview, according to The Daily Dot; he also admitted to “criminally choking” an ex-girlfriend in a now-deleted Facebook post.
Even if Metzger claims to be a “comedian” and that his comments were made for that reason, those are some pretty disturbing statements.
Cohen is now also accused of stolen valor. When he “interviewed” Sarah Palin for his show, he was apparently dressed as a disabled veteran, Palin said.
Artwork has popped up around Los Angeles (shown above) that accuses Cohen of stolen valor. People have also lobbed the accusation on social media.
— Stinkin hillbilly Jew in Walmart (@veterans2020) July 11, 2018
Let me clairify this tweet – .@SachaBaronCohen impersonated a veteran. This is a federal crime. Stolen Valor Act of 2013.
He will profit because by using it for his show he is making money. He also benfits from getting viewers to watch his show. pic.twitter.com/bkULZGQ2yi
— Michael S. Moates ?? (@freedom_moates) July 11, 2018
Shame on @CBS & @SachaBaronCohen. Money should be donated to a veteran charity. Posing as an injured veteran = complete lack of respect & remorse for those that have sacrificed themselves during their service to this country. Thank you @SarahPalinUSA for standing up to this. ??
— Anna Paulina (@_annapaulina_) July 13, 2018
That’s not even the extent of the legal battles Cohen may face. Republican Jason Spencer, a state representative in Georgia, was also tricked by the show and is considering legal action.
He was brought on the show to discuss self-defense and anti-terrorism training, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
He said the producers and Cohen took “advantage of my fears that I would be attacked by someone.”
“It is clear the makers of this film intended to deceive me in an attempt to undermine the American conservative political movement; therefore, I have sought legal counsel to challenge this illegal and unethical behavior and plan on taking action if and when any of this fraudulently obtained footage of me is used by these Hollywood liberals to line their own pockets,” he also told the paper in a statement.
Roy Moore, a former Alabama Senate candidate who will appear on the series, also threatened Cohen with a lawsuit last week. He was invited to an event where he was supposed to receive an award for his “strong support of Israel,” as the New York Post noted.
In a public statement, Moore wrote, “I am involved in several court cases presently to defend my honor and character against vicious false political attacks by liberals like Cohen. If Showtime airs a defamatory attack on my character, I may very well be involved in another. As for Mr. Cohen, whose art is trickery, deception and dishonesty, Alabama does not respect cowards who exhibit such traits! It’s been a long time since I fought for my country in Vietnam. I’m ready to defend her again!”
If Cohen meant to be outrageous and controversial in the name of attention, he is succeeding — for the time being.
Update: The ratings for Cohen’s series are in and they are…terrible. The premiere episode of “Who Is America?” only managed to draw 327,000 viewers, which landed it in 70th place for the day.
Tom Joyce is a freelance writer from the South Shore of Massachusetts. He covers sports, pop culture, and politics and has contributed to The Federalist, Newsday, and other outlets.