The new Sacha Baron Cohen movie “Bruno” opens on July 10, 2009. People are very excited about it and the movie will undoubtedly cause a ton of controversy, just like Sacha Baron Cohen’s breakout hit “Borat” did a few years ago. Millions of people will flock to the theaters to see Bruno.
In the new movie, Sacha Baron Cohen plays a fictional gay Austrian fashion reporter who finds himself in some strange, awkward and potentially unsafe situations. How did this film get made and were any of these incidents real? Did people get embarrassed or were they hurt emotionally by how they were treated in the moment of each scene?
There’s a legal phrase called “intentional infliction of emotional distress” which many plaintiffs use when they file lawsuits against people. Others file different claims when they are injured physically or emotionally during the filming of movies.
Richelle Olson Lawsuit
CBS News has reported that a woman who appears in the Bruno movie, Richelle Olson, has filed a lawsuit against NBC Universal and Cohen. She claims that she was physically injured during the scene in which the Bruno character was using swear words at a bingo event and Olson tried to get the microphone from him, which resulted in a struggle. See TMZ.com for more on this case. Most likely this case will end in some form of financial settlement. The Wall Street Journal has reported that Cohen is being defended by attorneys Slade Metcalf and Katherine Bolger of the law firm Hogan and Hartson.
Libel Lawsuit by Unknown Woman
In April of this year, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge dismissed a libel lawsuit against Sacha Baron Cohen. The case stemmed from an incident on Cohen’s “Da Ali G Show” where a woman was identified as the girlfriend of author Gore Vidal and Cohen allegedly suggested that she “amended” herself a lot. The judge ruled that no reasonable person would have taken Ali G’s comments seriously, and thus libel could not be proven.
These are just a few examples of lawsuits that have been filed against Sacha Baron Cohen and his characters. There will probably be more, especially when the movie Bruno opens and people realize how many millions of people will be laughing at the incidents at people on the screen, people you may know from your neighborhood.
If the movie Bruno is a huge box-office hit like the movie Borat, then there will be no shortage of persons who suddenly and inexplicably start to suffer some physical or emotional pain that they believe is related to something related to the production of the movie. And more lawsuits will be filed.
Baron Cohen as “Bruno” Poses Nude for GQ, CBSNews.com, June 16, 2009.
Sacha’s Alleged Victim, TMZ.com, June 5, 2009.
The Lawsuit Generator That is Sacha Baron Cohen, Ashby Jones, June 4, 2009.
A Legal Victory for Ali G and Sacha Baron Cohen, New York Times, Dave Itzkoff, April 21, 2009.