Founder and president of Youth Shooters of America Daniel Roberts believed he was receiving specialist training from Israeli antiterrorism expert Erran Morad.
In reality, he was being pranked by comedian and master of disguise, Sacha Baron Cohen. With Cohen’s encouragement, the gun enthusiast chucked a plastic baby in a bin to stop a nappy bomb going off and agreed guns were ‘crucial’ within schools.
However, the most jaw dropping moment of the segment showed Roberts participating in an exercise where he put a strap-on dildo in his mouth, persuaded this action would stop a potential extremist from beheading him.
The truck driver from Fort Mill, S.C., had no inkling he had been made a fool of until a friend sent him a message over Facebook, enquiring why he had appeared in episode five of Who Is America?
— Who Is America? (@SHOwhoisAmerica) August 14, 2018
Roberts has appeared in various broadcasts over the years, defending his right to bear arms. Most notably, the gun activist got into a heated row with Piers Morgan following a mass shooting in Las Vegas in 2017.
At the time, Roberts said he hoped nothing would be done to restrict the use of firearms after the deadly attack, an opinion which left Morgan infuriated. The debate divided viewers, with some Twitter users describing Roberts’ views as ‘troubling.’
Now Roberts has been thrust into the limelight again, this time for a truly humiliating reason.
Speaking with The New York Times, Roberts stated he is now ‘actively exploring what legal remedies may be available.’
Roberts explained how the taping took place last July, after a production company contacted him. It appeared to him to be a ‘perfectly legitimate opportunity.’
According to Roberts, he was ‘absolutely baffled’ to discover he had been tricked:
To be honest about it, probably a couple months ago, I had the random thought, ‘Hey, I guess that show never aired,’ still under the impression that this was going to be something for Israeli television. I never thought anything more about it.
He added how he had been uncomfortable at some points during the filming process, but felt reassured by Morad’s apparent expertise :
There were definitely several moments of being extraordinarily uncomfortable.
But at the same time, if you believe yourself to be in the presence of what anyone would rightly describe as experts in their field, and they are telling you that these are techniques or tactics that they themselves have used, and you’re just a rank amateur, would you question it?
When asked whether he worried about how he was being portrayed, Roberts replied:
I don’t know that it ever crossed my mind. The use of the — what’s the polite way to describe this? — the use of the sexual device as a prop, in my mind, it made sense.
Think about what they’re claiming: a last resort. You have one chance to do something, or you’re certain you’re going to die. That’s the scenario they’ve laid out.
I don’t know many people, if they were completely honest, that they would say they wouldn’t take that opportunity to maybe, hopefully, grab one thing to maybe save their lives.
So using that item as a prop, sure, you could argue it makes sense because it’s a pretty dangerous thing to do. You could hurt somebody doing it for real, which obviously is the point.
It was definitely very uncomfortable. At the very same time, I go back to being completely convinced that these were legitimate I.D.F. special forces soldiers that had trained with these techniques or had actually used them.
Another incredible episode of #WhoIsAmerica? Daniel Roberts biting a terrorists dick off was impressive stuff. How can people fall for this?!?
— Nader Khalifa (@TheBigShow1976) August 13, 2018
"I have been in 14 terrorist attacks and started 3".
Daniel Roberts nods in agreement. #WhoIsAmerica
— Mike Glover (@Like_Mike10) August 13, 2018
Lmfao i cant believe you got Daniel Roberts on his knees and got him to do it AHAHAHAHAHAHHA #Priceless
— Dylan (@MrHatnScars) August 13, 2018
Gotta say that #DanielRoberts deserves the embarrassment from his idiotic actions/words in tonight’s #WhoIsAmerica episode. His core beliefs are fraudulent (in my opinion) and maybe this will have people rely on him less. #GunControl
— Jeff Hershberg (@LawyerToronto) August 13, 2018
Omg, #WhoIsAmerica was just unreal last night. What some of these people are doing on tv is just incredible, does the last bloke Daniel Roberts look back and think wtf was I doing??
— Chaz (@creedeh) August 14, 2018
Roberts isn’t the first person to be tricked by Cohen, and I’m pretty sure he won’t be the last.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications. When not Lad-ing about, she enjoys cooking, reading and trying not to fall over in Yoga.