A gun store owner in Riverside, California is “100 percent positive” actor Sacha Baron Cohen tried to trick him into filming an interview for his fake docu-series on Showtime called “Who Is America?”
A number of politicians and political activists have been duped into participating in humiliating interviews as part of Cohen’s series under what they say were false pretenses. In the show’s debut episode, a heavily disguised Cohen tricks a gun-rights advocate into pointing guns decorated as stuffed animals at the camera in an effort to make the weapons appear kid-friendly.
Norris Sweidan, owner of Warrior One Guns and Ammo said a man heavily disguised and speaking with a thick, fake accent walked into his store with a camera crew in tow in February 2017 under the pretense that the man was a Hungarian immigrant seeking to buy a gun, according to an exclusive report by Fox 11.
‘I’m looking at the producer and I’m just like am I being fooled right here?’ Sweidan said. ‘And I just kept looking at the guy and I was like ‘you’re Borat,’ as soon as I said that his eyes just looked at me like, and he did a turn right out the door.’
He says after Cohen left the store, he left his crew behind.
‘We’re talking to the people they don’t wanna give us an answer, we basically told them to get the f*** out, you guys are all full of s***, have a great day, get out,’ Sweidan said.
He said it’s obvious what Cohen’s intentions were.
‘Once I knew it was Borat, we already know his game and his bull*****, so we knew he’s here to make a mockery, and of what? Gun owners? The gun business, gun shops,’ Sweidan said.
You can watch the whole interview and bits of footage of Cohen’s reported visit to the Riverside gun store in the video below.
Last week, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin said she was tricked by Cohen, whom she says was heavily disguised as a wounded veteran, into an interview. She says she ended it after the interview took a bizarre turn. She also said Cohen’s production team dropped her off at the wrong airport on purpose, causing her and her daughter to miss their flights home to Alaska.
Cohen denied Palin’s accusations, tweeting a statement written in character from a Twitter account purported to belong to his character, Dr. Billy Wayne Ruddick.
“I did NOT say I was a War Vet. I was in the service ― not military, but United Parcel, and I only fought for my country once ― when I shot a Mexican who came onto my property,” the statement reads.
Here's the truth @SarahPalinUSA 🇺🇸 #MAGA #buildthewall #boycottsashacohen pic.twitter.com/iFZWrFTxWL
— Billy Wayne Ruddick Jr., PhD (@BillyWRuddick) July 12, 2018
“The challenge is to Cohen, CBS and Showtime: donate all proceeds to a charitable group that actually respects and supports American Vets,” Palin wrote in a lengthy Facebook post about the incident. “Mock politicians and innocent public personalities all you want, if that lets you sleep at night, but HOW DARE YOU mock those who have fought and served our country.”
Showtime has stood by Cohen’s tactics regarding the rumored interview with Palin and did not respond to requests for comment from Fox 11 about the February, 2017 interaction at Warrior One Guns and Ammo.