Comedian Sacha Baron Cohen is being sued to the tune of $95 million (£73 million) by former Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.
71-year-old Moore unwittingly appeared on Cohen’s political satire/prank show Who is America? believing he was talking with ‘anti-terror expert’ General Erran Morad. In fact, he was being tricked by Cohen in costume.
In the segment, ‘Morad’ waved a ‘paedophile detector’ across Moore’s body as a demonstration. He then pretended to be puzzled as it beeped, saying it must be faulty. When he waved the detector over himself and others, the detector remained silent.
Moore and his legal team have since described the sketch as defamatory.
Moore and wife Kayla Moore, are now suing Cohen, Showtime and CBS for defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress and fraud caused by the episode.
This is according to a federal complaint which was filed in the District of Columbia on Wednesday 5 September.
According to the lawsuit, Moore had travelled to Washington believing he would be given an award for ‘his strong support of Israel’.
According to the complaint:
Defendant Cohen’s character falsely and fraudulently introduced a false and fraudulent ‘device’ supposedly invented by the Israeli Army to detect paedophiles.
During the segment, Defendant Cohen’s ‘device’ – as part of the false and fraudulent routine – purports to detect Judge Moore as a sex offender, thus defaming him.
The complaint continues:
This false and fraudulent portrayal and mocking of Judge Moore as a sex offender, on national and international television, which was widely broadcast in this district on national television and worldwide, has severely harmed Judge Moore’s reputation and caused him, Mrs. Moore, and his entire family severe emotional distress, as well as caused and will cause Plaintiffs financial damage.
During his appearance on Who Is America? Moore appeared indignant at the suggestion it was he who had triggered the beeping.
Before walking of set, he informed Cohen:
I’ve been married for 33 [years] and never had an accusation of such things.
Roy Moore is suing Sacha Baron Cohen on the grounds that he defamed Moore's stellar reputation as a twice-removed judge and disgraced pedophile.
— Nick Jack Pappas (@Pappiness) September 5, 2018
Last November, multiple women made sexual misconduct allegations against Moore. Some of the women claimed Moore had assaulted them when they were teenagers and he was an adult.
These allegations were made during Moore’s bid for the Alabama Senate. He had been expected to win, but lost out to Democratic candidate Doug Jones.
Moore has continued to deny the allegations made against him, and has previously made the following statement:
These allegations are completely false and are a desperate political attack by the National Democrat Party and the Washington Post on this campaign.
Just heard that Alabama's former senator Roy Moore is fin to sue Sacha Baron Cohen for $95 Milillion in a defamation case. Bro u sure u want that smoke? Dey gonna call the security guard to testify that they had to keep u from the young girls at the mall. #cuturlosses
— Joel Z. Williams (@joelzwilliams) September 6, 2018
US politician Roy Moore to sue Sacha Baron Cohen over TV prank, and then finding out his long time lawyer was also Sacha Baron Cohen.
— Have I Got News For You (@haveigotnews) September 6, 2018
This is not the first time Cohen has tricked a US politician. Perhaps most notably, Georgia State Representative Jason Spencer was forced to resign from his position after appearing on Who Is America?
Spencer was filmed screaming racial expletives and chasing Cohen around the studio with his bottom exposed.
Roy Moore needs to know what satire means before jumping the gun on defamation. Commentaries are commentaries. #SachaBaronCohen
— debbiecake (@meanqueene) September 6, 2018
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence contact the Rape Crisis England and Wales helpline on 0808 802 9999 (12-2:30 and 7-9:30). Alternatively you can contact Victim Support on 08 08 16 89 111.
Male Survivors Partnership is available to support adult male survivors of sexual abuse and rape. You can contact the organisation on its website or on its helpline – 0808 800 5005.
If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
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.