Sacha Baron Cohen is known for playing pranks and deceiving those around him into filming with him in past projects. The same is true for his new series, Who Is America? and after Palin was duped into interviewing for the show, she took aim at the star and the network with a demand that they donate their proceeds.
Former Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin revealed in a lengthy Facebook post on Tuesday that the British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen tricked her. Palin clearly wasn’t pleased and put the comedian on blast.
Palin revealed in her Facebook post that Cohen tricked her into traveling across the country with one of her daughters to contribute to what she thought was a “legit Showtime documentary.” She was induced to make the journey after Cohen reportedly made her believe she was being offered an opportunity to “honor American vets.”
When Palin arrived at the interview venue, she met Cohen disguised as a disabled veteran in a wheelchair. She sat through a long interview during which the “disabled veteran” asked her various provocative questions.
Palin described the interview as “full of Hollywoodism’s disrespect and sarcasm.” She said that she finally had enough of the disrespectful questions, removed her mic and walked out.
— Sacha Baron Cohen (@SachaBaronCohen) July 8, 2018
She lashed out angrily at Cohen on Facebook, calling him “evil,” “exploitative,” and “truly sick.”
“Yup – we were duped. Ya’ got me, Sacha. Feel better now?” Palin wrote on Facebook. “I join a long list of American public personalities who have fallen victim to the evil, exploitative, sick ‘humor’ of the British ‘comedian’ Sacha Baron Cohen, enabled and sponsored by CBS/Showtime.”
Palin argued that Cohen’s action was disrespectful of U.S. veterans.
“The disrespect of our U.S. military and middle-class Americans via Cohen’s foreign commentaries under the guise of interview questions was perverse,” she protested.
“Mock politicians and innocent public personalities all you want, if that lets you sleep at night,” she continued, “but how dare you mock those who have fought and served our country. Truly sick.”
Palin said that after she ended the interview, the show’s production team dropped her off at the wrong airport, and she missed her flight back to Alaska. She called on the show’s producers and Cohen to donate profits from the show to veterans’ charities.
Palin’s Facebook followers expressed shock that CBS and Showtime would allow Cohen to disrespect U.S. veterans for a comedy show.
Side note to my story – I totally get @SachaBaronCohen's gig. He's a comedian, and he can be funny, but mocking a disabled veteran to spoof @SarahPalinUSA is a serious matter. I am just telling you what I encountered – it was much of the same she experienced.
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) July 11, 2018
“They continue to sink to new lows. Truly horrible people,” a Palin fan commented.
“‘Comedians’ like that do not have internal talent,” another angry Palin fan commented. “Nowadays they use humiliation in the name of ‘comedy’ and that doesn’t require talent.”
“Regardless of anyone’s political affiliation, this creep’s total horrific lack of respect for our Veterans is despicable,” a third Facebook user wrote.
Some wanted to know whether Cohen had broken any laws that could lead to prosecution.
However, Cohen’s fans thought his act was hilarious and defended him.
I’m a 100% service disabled honorably discharged U.S. Marine; Sacha Baron Cohen please keep up your amazing work!
— GerardSF (@gerardsleeps) July 10, 2018
Showtime Networks President and CEO David Nevins also defended the British comedian.
“Sacha is a comedic genius who shocks you with his audacity, bravery, and inventiveness,” Nevins said. “He is the premier provocateur of our time, but not for the sake of ‘gotcha’ moments. Nobody knows how to cause a stir like Sacha Baron Cohen, and it’s going to be fascinating to watch what happens when Who Is America? is released on the world.”
This is not the first time that Cohen has tricked a public personality to participate in a fake interview. He is well-known for using his comic characters — such as Ali G, Borat Sagdiyev, and Bruno — to embarrass celebrities and politicians on camera.
He once tricked the former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney to autograph a “waterboard kit.”
As Ali G, he tried to convince the real estate developer Donald Trump to invest in an “ice cream glove” business.
I never fall for scams. I am the only person who immediately walked out of my ‘Ali G’ interview
Glad to see that Sacha Baron Cohen's new movie is not only a dud but not too good at the box office. He is talentless. @Sacha_B_Cohen
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 22, 2012
His gay Austrian character Bruno also once tried to convince the former Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul to shoot a sex tape with him.
Who Is America featuring Sacha Baron Cohen will premiere on July 15 at 10/9c on Showtime.