You Can Sue Sacha Baron Cohen For His Pranks — But You Won’t Win
Gun rights activist Daniel Roberts is "exploring every avenue" to pursue legal action.
While disguised as an antiterrorist expert for his new show, comedian Sacha Baron Cohen convinced Daniel Roberts, an ardent gun rights activist, to bite a sex toy and other embarrassing acts — which were all caught on film.
At the time, Roberts thought it was part of a training video. But in fact, he was being played for laugh, as part of Cohen’s series, Who is America?
— Andrew Richards (@AndrewRichards8) August 14, 2018
Roberts said in an interview last week that he is “exploring every avenue” to pursue legal action. The New York Times writes that he is not along. Jason Spencer resigned as a state lawmaker in Georgia after his interview with Cohen aired. Roy Moore, a former Alabama senator, also said he might taken Cohen to court. But could any of them actually win?
My great friend GOP Representative Jason Spencer said the N word on TV last night! He did so as part of a comedy sketch with liberal #FakeNews provocateur #SachaBaronCohen on Showtime’s #WhoIsAmerica (which I don’t watch by the way). Spencer was obviously in on the joke, right? pic.twitter.com/ealAPkqo5a
— Donald J. Trump (@isDonaldTrump) July 23, 2018
The Times writes that Cohen and his team were deceitful in how they got people to participate on the show. But legal experts say that in most of the cases it appears that prospective prank victims signed releases designed to indemnify Cohen and producers from such legal claims. Roberts said he couldn’t remember if he signed a release, but it was “highly likely.” Walsh said he had signed one.
“These releases basically solicit the consent of the participant and say, ‘Look, no inconsistent oral statement is going to be considered here. This is the entire agreement in this release. You’ve entered into it voluntarily. You’ve had an opportunity to review it with counsel,’” said Domenic Romano, an entertainment lawyer, to The Times.
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