Baron Cohen Faces $110 Million Lawsuit
$110 million is a lot of money to ask from a man famous for gay jokes and saying “boo-yakasha” in a yellow suit. But if you’d been unfairly branded a terrorist in a film that was seen by millions around the globe, you’d probably be pretty cheesed off too.
This is the case for Palestinian shop-owner Ayman Abu Aita, who is suing Sasha Baron Cohen of Ali-G, Borat and Bruno fame for over 100 million dollars. Aita’s lawyer has stated that Cohen grossly misrepresented his interview with Aita in the Bruno film, and that Aita’s reputation has been damaged beyond repair as a result.
In the short interview with Aida, Bruno asks to ‘be kidnapped’ in order to ‘become famous’, as a caption labeling Abu Aita as a member of the militant al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade (the armed wing of the Fatah movement) scrolls across the screen. In fact, Aita is a member of the board of the Holy Land trust, a non-profit organisation that works on Palestinian community-building. An innocent mix-up? We doubt it. The shopkeeper is also suing US talk show host David Letterman for his involvement in the slander, based on an interview he conducted with Cohen. During The Letterman Show Cohen said that he feared for his life whilst talking to Aida, and that he needed CIA help to find ‘a terrorist’ in the first place.
Others have tried to sue Cohen in the past for his stretching of the truth in Borat, but so far none have been successful. Only time will tell whether these new accusations will hold water, but whether Cohen intended his actions to be funny or not, faking a hilarious terrorist interview isn’t really a joke that splits our sides.