There is only one Sacha Baron Cohen (The Trail of the Chicago 7). It is a treat whenever the British comedian turns up in the news as it is never for something normal. This time around, Baron Cohen has gotten caught up in a heated legal dispute with former Alabama senatorial candidate, Roy Moore. According to Reuters, the spat boiled over this week when a judge ruled to dismiss the case.
On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge John Cronan of Manhattan moved to dismiss Moore’s $95 million lawsuit against Baron Cohen, Showtime, and its parent company, ViacomCBS Inc. The case stems from the former Chief Justice of Alabama’s Supreme Court’s appearance on Baron Cohen’s 2018 Showtime series, Who is America? Moore alleges that the interview he did for the show falsely portrayed him as a sex offender.
A federal judge in NY dismissed Roy Moore’s lawsuit against Sacha Baron Cohen over a segment where Cohen pretended to be an Israeli counterterrorism expert testing a device that he said would only beep around sex offenders (it beeped)https://t.co/09HTPfp1On pic.twitter.com/TBADBYun2z
— Zoe Tillman (@ZoeTillman) July 13, 2021
Who is America? is a spoof documentary show where Baron Cohen dressed up as different characters and made fools out of many government officials. One of the episodes was centered around Moore, a prominent figure at the time due to his failed attempt at a senatorial seat the year before. Moore is set up to believe that he is going to Washington DC to win an award for his support of Israel. Instead, he meets Baron Cohen, disguised as fictional Israeli anti-terrorism expert, Erran Morad. The Borat actor then brings out a wand-like device that is able to “detect pedophiles” and waves it around Moore, causing it to beep. The joke led to the Alabama Republican walking out of the interview.
Judge Cronan’s 26 page decision to dismiss the case centered around Moore’s signed consent agreement that barred him from suing Baron Cohen, Showtime, or ViacomCBS Inc. The document stated that the former Justice could not bring a case against the three for any intentional infliction of emotional distress and fraud.
Cronan’s statement, obtained by Reuters, deduced that the skit was “clearly a joke.” The judge went on to say, “It is simply inconceivable that the program’s audience would have found a segment with Judge Moore activating a supposed pedophile-detecting wand to be grounded in any factual basis.”
Moore and his wife, Kayla Moore, quickly responded to the decision by appealing. Their lawyer, Larry Klayman, said in a statement obtained by Reuters that, “Judge Cronan’s ruling makes no factual and legal sense… To the contrary, Judge Cronan’s dismissal is the joke, and more than a bad joke at that.”
Lawyers for Baron Cohen and Showtime failed to comment on the dismissal.
Baron Cohen continues to amaze his fans with the lengths he goes for content, and this court battle with an alleged pedophile Justice only adds to that. Stay tuned for more as this whacky story continues to work itself out.