Showtime, playing defense, issued a statement on the “widespread misinformation” the network said is being disseminated about the various characters Sacha Baron Cohen used to punk high profile people.
“There has been widespread misinformation over the past week about the character of Billy Wayne Ruddick Jr., Ph.D., performed by Sacha Baron Cohen,” Showtime said of the star of its new 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,” the pay cabler said.
“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 CBS premium network continued.
“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.”
Showtime’s statement comes as Cohen himself got played today by conservative street artist Sabo, who took over a billboard and a bus stop sign near CBS Studios in Los Angeles. In both, Cohen is seen seated in a wheelchair, has a prosthetic leg, and wears a MAGA had an an Army T-shirt. “Stolen Valor” scolds Sabo in both.
Ruddick is one of four characters Cohen created for the new seven-episode series. In an upcoming episode, a disguised Cohen tricked former GOP Veep candidate Palin into a discussion about military servicemen. Palin savaged Cohen, the show and Showtime last week in a Facebook post when she discovered she’d been had.
Good Morning America had her on for an interview in which Robin Roberts assured Palin others shared her outrage.
“It was proposed to me as a legitimate interview to speak about veterans’ issues in our military and current events to a new audience,” Palin said in that interview. “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.”
Baron Cohen tweet-teased the Who Is America? before Sunday’s launch, with a clip in which former Veep Dick Cheney is asked to sign a “waterboard kit,” and the waterboarding champion is seen signing a gallon-sized plastic jug.