Sacha Baron Cohen is opening up about how a $100,000 donation he made to one of the people he duped in his recent “Borat” sequel has utilized the money.
In “Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,” one scene finds Cohen’s hapless Kazakh journalist dropping off his 15-year-old daughter Tutar (Maria Bakalova) at the home of babysitter Jeanise Jones.
After the movie debuted, Jones told the New York Post she felt “beytrayed.”
“They told me it was a documentary for this young lady to understand she has rights and she can do whatever a man can do,” Jones told the Post.
As a result, Jones’ pastor, Derrick Scobey, set up a GoFundMe for her, revealing that Jones and her fellow church congregants had been praying for Tutar — thinking she was an actual person and not a fictional character.
“This was not scripted for Jeanise. It all came from the heart,” wrote Scobey. “She is one of the most authentic people I’ve ever met. One good thing that has come from this is that Jeanise doesn’t have to worry about ‘Tutar anymore. She has WORRIED about this young lady for a year.”
To date, the GoFundMe had raised more than $180,000 of the $100,000 goal.
In addition, Cohen himself donated an additional $100,000 to Jones’ community in Oklahoma City, with People reporting that the Ebenezer Baptist Church — at Jones’ request — will distribute the funds for those needing shelter, food and other necessities.
“I was blown away but not surprised because I was told about what type of heart this man has,” Scobey told People of Cohen’s generosity. “Maybe it’s a little risqué, some of the things in the movie, but he has a good heart.”
In a new interview with IndieWire, Cohen explains how he came to make the donation.
“I think this has been the hardest year in living memory for most people. Jeanise is this incredible figure in the movie. She helps Tutar find her own beauty and helps her stand up for herself and value her independence as a woman. I heard they were doing a crowdfunding for her afterwards. I called her up and I wanted to help in some way. I said, ‘What’s important to you? Is there some way I can help?’” Cohen said.
“At the time there was a natural disaster in Oklahoma and they were struggling to house and feed a lot of members of her community,” he added. “It was the least I could do, really. By the way, her pastor was saying this woman Jeanise had spent all her time helping others in the community. He virtually took us around the church and they were housing and feeding a lot of people who were struggling. What else can you do?”