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Thursday, November 26, 2020

‘Borat’ Sequel Sued After Holocaust Survivor Becomes Upset With Cameo

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Erin Ben-Moche
Erin is the Digital Content Manager at the Jewish Journal. She also covers Jewish art, entertainment and culture.

Even before its release, Sacha Baron Cohen’s satirical sequel “Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm” already is a lightning rod for controversy.

Producers of the film and Amazon Studios have been sued by the estate of Holocaust survivor Judith Dim Evans, The Wrap reported after Evans stated she was interviewed by the British actor-writer-producer under “false pretenses.” The Holocaust survivor also said she was upset that she appears in the film without her permission.

Evans died after filming the segment but her estate filed a complaint after her death against Amazon and Oak Springs Productions for using footage of Evans in the mockumentary.

Evans died after filming the segment but her estate filed a complaint after her death against Amazon and Oak Springs Productions for using footage of Evans in the mockumentary.

The Wrap also reported that the estate’s lawyers filed a temporary restraining order on Oct. 13 to prevent the movie from being released, which is scheduled for Oct. 23.

Baron Cohen planned to release the sequel before Election Day in the U.S., on Nov. 3.

The lawsuit describes Evans as “a well-known speaker, university professor and authority on the Holocaust and Jewish culture, as well as a Holocaust survivor.”

“Upon learning after giving the interview that the movie was actually a comedy intended to mock the Holocaust and Jewish culture, Ms. Evans was horrified and upset,” the lawsuit says. “Had Ms. Evans been informed about the true nature of the film and purpose for the interview, she would not have agreed to participate in the interview.” 

“Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm” is the sequel to Baron Cohen’s 2006 satire featuring the same character, a seemingly coarse and clueless man from Kazakhstan visiting the U.S. Since that film, the actor has pushed the limits of taste and standards through his character in his film “Bruno,” a gay fashionista from Austria in the U.S., and Showtime’s political satire series “Who Is America?”  

Deadline reported on Oct. 15 that “Baron Cohen dedicates the movie to Evans,” and that “out of respect he had someone tell Evans and the friend who shares the scene with her that Baron Cohen himself is Jewish and playing an ignorant character as a means of Holocaust education, by featuring a Holocaust survivor who ends up challenging the anti-Semite by charmingly telling her own story.”

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