This will be worth keeping an eye on. Roy Moore, the former Senate hopeful from Alabama who lost his race while embroiled in a pedophile scandal, has sued Sacha Baron Cohen and Showtime for an uncool $95 million over his appearance — along with a claimed “pedophile detector” — on the premium cabler’s series Who Is America?
The horse-ridin’, pistol-packin’, Donald Trump-backed conservative had signed a release before meeting for the show with Baron Cohen, who was posing as an Israeli anti-terrorism expert. But the suit filed today in D.C. District Court (read it here) claims that the release Moore signed “was obtained through fraud” and therefore is “void and inoperative.”
Back in February, Moore made an expenses-paid tripto Washington, ostensibly to receive an award for supporting Israel. Moore sat with Baron Cohen to discuss technological advancements to thwart terrorist attacks and said he was “honored” to meet the “anti-terrorism expert.” Baron Cohen told him that Israel was using seismic waves to detect tunnels Hamas was using to launch terrorist attacks.
But things got cringy when he noted that the technology later was adapted to identify perpetrators of sexual misconduct, claiming that pedophiles, in particular, secreted a certain enzyme that could be detected by an electronic wand.
Here is how it played out in the episode that aired in July:
Holding the wand, Cohen said it will make no noise “because neither of us are sex offenders.” It remained silent as he moves it over himself.
Turning to Moore, Cohen waved the wand, which emitted a beeping sound.
“It must be faulty. It’s malfunctioning,” Cohen said, then tried it several more times on himself. Silence.
Cohen then asked Moore, “Is this your jacket? Did you lend the jacket to somebody else?”
Moore shot back: “I’ve been married for 33 years, I’ve never had an accusation of such things,” If this is an instrument, then certainly I’m not a pedophile.”
“I am simply cutting this conversation right now,” he said and walked off. Watch a clip of their sit-down here.
The suit claims, “This false and fraudulent portrayal and mocking of Judge Moore as a sex offender, on national and international television, which was widely broadcast in this district on national television and worldwide, has severely harmed Judge Moore’s reputation and caused him, Mrs. Moore, and his entire family severe emotional distress, as well as caused and will cause Plaintiffs financial damage.”
Moore was not the only prominent figure duped into appearance on Who Is America? Among Baron Cohen other interviewees/victims were for GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, ex-Trump adviser Corey Lewandowksi, gun activist Dan Roberts, former Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Jason Spencer, the then-Georgia congressman who went so far as to charge toward Cohen, bare butt-first, in an exercise designed to frighten off potential homophobic Islamic terrorist kidnappers. Spencer later resigned.
Showtime parent CBS Corp. also is named as a defendant in the fraud and defamation lawsuit, which also claims intentional infliction of emotional distress. Moore is being represented in the case by attorney Larry Klayman of Klayman Law Group in Washington, D.C.