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Showtime defends Sacha Baron Cohen: ‘Widespread misinformation’

17 July 2018

In the statement, Showtime said that "Baron Cohen never presented himself as a veteran of the US 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 the first episode, aired on Sunday, Baron Cohen posed as an Israeli anti-terror expert who asked two USA congressmen to support his fictional Israeli programme "Kinderguardians" to teach kindergartners how to use guns.

The segment is led by one of Cohen's new characters for the series, a fake Israeli "anti-terror expert" called Col. Erran Morad, who introduces a fake program, "Kinderguardians", which would arm children as young as three.

The 46-year-old London-born comedian, who is best known for his comedy characters such as Ali G, Bruno and Borat, has been secretly filming the seven-episode series for the past year and the show debuted on Showtime in the USA on Sunday (July 15).

Baron Cohen previously responded in character to Palin's claims on Twitter last week, posting a letter explaining that, while Ruddick was in the "service", he meant "United Parcel".

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The image on the board showed the actor sitting in a wheelchair with a prosthetic leg while wearing a U.S. Army shirt and a "Make America Great Again" hat. The network was contacted repeatedly by news outlets about Palin and other "duped" claims and replied to all requests with "no comment".

Palin previously spoke about the whole thing on "Good Morning America", with the former Republican vice presidential candidate and Alaska governor calling Cohen a "proven liar".

"Who is America?" is both the title of Sacha Baron Cohen's first foray into television satire in more than a decade and the existential question on the lips of liberals living through the Trump presidency. She ultimately left, however, after claiming to have experienced "a long "interview" full of Hollywoodism's disrespect and sarcasm".

On Monday, a street artist took over a billboard in Los Angeles claiming the comedian indeed engaged in "stolen valor", as the Hollywood Reporter noted.

Showtime defends Sacha Baron Cohen: ‘Widespread misinformation’