UPDATE 2: Showtime released a statement in defense of Who Is America? creator and star Sacha Baron Cohen following the comedy series’ premiere. “There has been widespread misinformation over the past week about the character of Billy Wayne Ruddick Jr., Ph.D.,” the statement read.
“Baron Cohen did not present himself as a disabled veteran … During an interview with Senator Bernie Sanders, Baron Cohen in character as Dr. Ruddick was asked by the Senator if he is disabled, and he stated that he is not and uses a mobility scooter to conserve his energy. In addition, Baron Cohen never presented himself as a veteran of the U.S. military to former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin during the booking process or during the filming of her interview, and contrary to her claims he did not appear in a wheelchair. In both the interview with Governor Palin and the interview with Senator Sanders, he did not wear military apparel of any kind.”
UPDATE 1: Sarah Palin is not the only politico to recently fall for a mock interview with Sacha Baron Cohen for his upcoming series Who Is America?. As Huffington Post reports, former Alabama senate candidate Roy Moore was also duped and he’s threatening to sue.
On Thursday, Moore said in a statement that he was invited to Washington D.C. in February to receive an award for his support of Israel which he was unaware was part of the series, and he “did not know Sacha Cohen or that a Showtime TV series was being planned to embarrass, humiliate, and mock not only Israel, but also religious conservatives such as Sarah Palin, Joe Walsh, and Dick Cheney.”
Moore added, “I don’t need Sacha Cohen to tell me who America is” and later hinted at taking possible legal action against Showtime and Cohen. Moore, who is accused of numerous allegations of sexually misconduct with minors, 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.”
Sacha Baron Cohen, under the guise of a character from his upcoming series Who Is America? – set to premiere on Showtime on Sunday – penned a letter to former Alaska governor Sarah Palin a day after she derided him on Facebook for fooling her.
In a bit for the series, Cohen interviewed her while posing as what appeared to be a disabled military vet. In a lengthy Facebook post yesterday, Palin wrote, “We were duped. Ya got me, Sacha.” She also called him evil, exploitative and sick. “Out of respect for what I was led to believe would be a thoughtful discussion with someone who had served in uniform, I sat through a long ‘interview’ full of Hollywoodism’s [sic], disrespect and sarcasm – but finally had enough and literally, physically removed my mic and walked out, much to Cohen’s chagrin,” she wrote. “The disrespect of our U.S. military and middle-class Americans via Cohen’s foreign commentaries under the guise of interview questions was perverse.”
Today, Cohen’s character, Billy Wayne Ruddick, Jr. PhD, tweeted his own lengthy letter at Palin. In the missive, he identified himself as the founder, CEO and accountant of Truthbrary.org. “I did NOT say I was a War Vet,” he wrote. “I was in the service – not military, but United Parcel, and I only fought for my country once – when I shot a Mexican who came onto my property. (Coincidentaly [sic], just like our Great President, I was sadly prevented from joining the regular army on account of bone spurs bein [sic] discovered in my testies [sic]).”
He also kept the ruse going. “I do believe you have been hit by a bullshit grenade and are now bleedin’ FAKE NEWS,” he wrote. “You used to hunt the most dangerous animals in the country, like wolves and people on welfare. So why hunt a fine citizen journalist like myself? I DEMAND an APOLOGY.”
The post came with #MAGA, #buildthewall and #boycottsashacohen hash tags. Previous tweets from the account, which go back to May 15th, include many retweets of President Trump and links to his Truthbrary website.
People reports that Palin exited the interview when “Ruddick” asked a question about what he believed to be a government-funded sex change for Chelsea Clinton. The magazine’s source alleged that Cohen was baiting Palin into espousing homophobia. In her public statement, Palin alleged that “Cohen/CBS/Showtime” deposited her and her daughter at the wrong Washington, D.C. airport after the interview “knowing that we’ll miss our flights back home to Alaska.” She added, “By the way, my daughter thinks you’re a piece of ****, Sacha.” The asterisks are hers.
The Guardian reports that the series will also reportedly feature interviews with Bernie Sanders and Dick Cheney.