Sarah Palin is once again calling Sacha Baron Cohen out for pranking her in an interview for his new TV series “Who Is America?”
The former Republican vice-presidential candidate and Alaska governor was on “Good Morning America” on Friday where she called the comedian a “proven liar,” describing the interview with his latest onscreen character Billy Wayne Ruddick Jr. PhD as “embarrassing” and “humiliating.”
“It was proposed to me as a legitimate interview to speak about veterans’ issues and our military and current events to a new audience,” she tells “GMA” of the interview last November with a man she believes was Cohen in disguise. “It was supposed to be this big time Showtime documentary and it was passed on to me by a speakers’ bureau, which, you know, I would assume had done some vetting.”
Cohen, who is known for creating outrageous and controversial characters like Borat, Ali G, and Bruno, takes a look at American patriotism in his new series for Showtime and features in-character interviews with right-wing politicos like Palin, Dick Cheney, Joe Walsh as well as broadcaster Ted Koppel.
Palin says the interview with Ruddick Jr. took a bizarre turn and she started to question the legitimacy of the “documentary” she was duped into participating in.
“He started showing me these graphs and statistics that had, like, typos in ‘em and just didn’t quite look right, and part of this propaganda, this data that he was showing me, had something to do with sex changes and transgenderism and he brought up Chelsea Clinton and said she was a recipient of a government-funded sex change,” she recalls. “It just got worse and worse and worse as the minutes went on in this bizarre, really embarrassing, humiliating interview.”
Eventually, Palin said she had enough.
“I took off my mic and I walked out. Since then, nobody has returned my calls,” she claims. “They had given us fake names as to producers and anybody involved in the show. Nobody has taken me up on my offer for them to donate the proceeds from this show to veterans’ organizations that truly support and respect our vets.”
Palin first called attention to Cohen’s trickery on Tuesday in a lengthy Facebook post, slamming the British actor-comedian for dressing up as “a disabled U.S. veteran.” Cohen — posting a rebuttal in character as Ruddick Jr. — refuted her claims, writing he never claimed to be a “war vet.”
Palin responded by calling Cohen a “proven liar” whose rebuttal to her should not be believed.
“He thinks this kind of stuff is funny, and mocking the disabled and mocking and belittling our vets with his portrayal, in my book, it’s not funny. This actor, this comedian, whomever he is, he’s a proven liar,” she said. “He just doesn’t quit.”
“Nobody can believe a word he’s saying now as to his rebuttal,” she added.
In response, Showtime issued a statement insisting that at no time did Cohen’s character say he was disabled or a veteran.
“There has been widespread misinformation over the past week about the character of Billy Wayne Ruddick Jr., Ph.D., performed by Sacha Baron Cohen on the Showtime comedy series ‘Who Is America?’ Baron Cohen did not present himself as a disabled veteran, and viewers nationwide who watched the premiere on Sunday can now attest to that,” reads the network’s statement.
“In Sunday’s episode, during an interview with Senator Bernie Sanders, Baron Cohen in character as Dr. Ruddick was asked by the Senator if he is disabled, and he stated that he is not and uses a mobility scooter to conserve his energy,” the statement continues. “In addition, Baron Cohen never presented himself as a veteran of the U.S. military to former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin during the booking process or during the filming of her interview, and contrary to her claims he did not appear in a wheelchair. In both the interview with Governor Palin and the interview with Senator Sanders, he did not wear military apparel of any kind.”
Palin issued a response via Twitter, blasting Showtime’s statement as “more BS.”