Sacha Baron Cohen ridicule prompts Georgia lawmaker to quitBBC
July 25, 2018
A Georgia lawmaker ridiculed for dropping his trousers and using racial slurs on Sacha Baron Cohen's Who Is America? show has said he will resign.
Republican state representative Jason Spencer had initially refused to quit after the show aired on Sunday.
Baron Cohen's show dupes public figures with fake interviews.
Mr Spencer is coaxed into an "anti-terrorism training class", using the n-word to ward off a kidnapper and baring his buttocks to scare off terrorists.
"If you want to win, you show some skin," Baron Cohen, disguised as an anti-terrorism expert, had urged him.
The office of the Speaker of Georgia's House of Representatives told the Washington Post that Mr Spencer had submitted his resignation, effective from 31 July.
The lawmaker had faced mounting calls to quit, with the Speaker, David Ralston, among them. He told CNN Mr Spencer's actions and language were "reprehensible", adding: "Georgia is better than this."
In the episode, Baron Cohen invents the "Israeli anti-terrorism expert" Col Erran Morad, and convinces Mr Spencer to:
1) Bare his buttocks and chase Baron Cohen shouting "USA!" Mr Spencer is told terrorists do not want to be touched by other men's buttocks because they are afraid of homosexuality
2) Shout the "n-word" loudly and repeatedly to attract attention and ward off a kidnapper. Baron Cohen then says: "Are you crazy? The 'n-word' is noonie! Not this word. This word is disgusting"
3) Impersonate a Chinese tourist while placing a selfie-stick under the garment of a burqa-clad person to take a picture to ensure the person is not a terrorist (Mr Spencer backed legislation in 2016 to ban Muslim women from wearing burqas in public)
Mr Spencer had initially refused to quit over what he called a "ridiculously ugly episode".
The four-term representative was defeated in the Republican primary for his seat in May, but had intended to serve his remaining five months in office.
He said in a statement Baron Cohen had taken "advantage of my paralysing fear that my family would be attacked".
"My fears were so heightened at that time, I was not thinking clearly nor could I appreciate what I was agreeing to when I participated in his 'class'," he said.
Mr Spencer apologised to "my family, friends, and the people of my district", adding: "I deeply regret the language I used at (Baron Cohen's) request."
The Baron Cohen series airs on Showtime in the US and Channel 4 in the UK.
Other duped "guests" include former Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin and former US vice-president Dick Cheney.
Mrs Palin pre-empted the airing saying on Facebook: "I join a long list of American public personalities who have fallen victim to the evil, exploitive, sick 'humour' of the British 'comedian' Sacha Baron Cohen, enabled and sponsored by CBS/Showtime."