Sacha Baron Cohen is revealing that an interview he conducted for his recent Showtime comedy “Who Is America?” became so dark and disturbing that he felt compelled to alert the FBI.
In the series, the “Borat” star interviewed a wide range of people — including numerous political figures — while costumed as various characters, including Israeli anti-terrorism expert Erran Morad and far-right conspiracy theorist Billy Wayne Ruddick Jr.
During an interview with Deadline about the controversial show, Cohen discussed one scene that never made it to air, in which he dressed as depraved Italian billionaire Gio Monaldo (who famously engaged in a cringe-inducing conversation with O.J. Simpson).
As Cohen tells Deadline, his Gio character was speaking with a Las Vegas hotel concierge to see how much bad behaviour a billionaire like Gio would be able to get away with.
“We were shooting some of this at the time of Harvey Weinstein,” Cohen explained. “We wanted to investigate how does someone like Harvey Weinstein get away with doing what… get away with criminality, essentially. And the network that surrounds him. We decided [we] would interview a concierge in Las Vegas.”
To take the concept to the next level, Gio told the concierge that he needs some help silencing an eight-year-old boy he just molested.
“This is extreme comedy and we thought that the guy would leave the room,” Cohen said. “Instead, this concierge stays in the room and I go, ‘Listen, you’ve got to help me get rid of the problem.’ And this guy starts advising Gio how to get rid of this issue. We even at one point talk about murdering the boy, and the concierge is just saying, ‘Well, listen, I’m really sorry. In this country, we can’t just drown the boy. This is America we don’t do that.’ And then, in the end, he puts me in touch with a lawyer who can silence the boy. It became really dark stuff.”
According to Cohen, the interview concluded with the concierge confirming he could help Gio find a young boy (“Lower than Bar Mitzvah but older than eight,” Gio describes) to take on a date. “He says, ‘Yeah, I can put you in touch with somebody who can get you some boys like that,'” Cohen recalled.
“We immediately turned over the footage to the FBI because we thought, perhaps there’s a pedophile ring in Las Vegas that’s operating for these very wealthy men,” he added. “And this concierge had said that he’d worked for politicians and various billionaires. But in the end the FBI decided not to pursue it.”
The interview was never aired on “Who Is America?” because, as Cohen explained, “it was too dark and wrong… it was too unsettling for the audience.”