Controversy has swirled this week ahead of Friday’s release of Sacha Baron Cohen’s new “Borat” film, a satirical look at the United States that comes less than two weeks ahead of the hotly contested presidential election.
One of the most talked-about moments in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm involves Rudy Giuliani, US President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, being interviewed by an actress pretending to be a reporter. The actress portrayed Baron Cohen’s 15-year-old daughter in the film.
The scene, shot in a New York hotel room in July, includes a moment when Giuliani, 76, is lying on a bed and has his hand in his pants.
Giuliani, who went to the hotel room thinking he was being interviewed about the Trump administration’s COVID-19 response, can be heard asking for the woman’s phone number and address.
At one point, he also pats her on the lower back.
(1) The Borat video is a complete fabrication. I was tucking in my shirt after taking off the recording equipment.
At no time before, during, or after the interview was I ever inappropriate. If Sacha Baron Cohen implies otherwise he is a stone-cold liar.
— Rudy W. Giuliani (@RudyGiuliani) October 21, 2020
The former mayor of New York responded when media reports about the scene first emerged this week, saying on Wednesday that the video is “a complete fabrication”.
“I was tucking in my shirt after taking off the recording equipment,” Giuliani tweeted.
“At no time before, during, or after the interview was I ever inappropriate. If Sacha Baron Cohen implies otherwise he is a stone-cold liar.”
At the end of the scene, a disguised Baron Cohen rushes into the room, dressed in pink lingerie, shouting that the woman is 15.
Giuliani told The New York Times that he called the police after the mock interview took place.
“He and all his crew ran away leaving their equipment behind,” he said, referring to Baron Cohen.
Trolling those close to Trump is a central theme of the new Borat film, a sequel to a 2006 mockumentary in which Baron Cohen returns as his alter ego from Kazakhstan in a plot that involves trying to give his daughter as a gift to US Vice President Mike Pence.
Republican politicians have fallen for Baron Cohen’s pranks before.
In 2008, Republicans endorsed a gun programme in which four-year-olds are trained to use military-grade weaponry in Baron Cohen’s comedy series Who is America?.
Playing the role of an Israeli anti-terrorist expert, Baron Cohen successfully convinced former Congressman Joe Walsh, former Senator Trent Lott, California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher and South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson to endorse “kinder-guardians”.