Days after the world learned that comedian Sacha Baron Cohen had duped former vice president Richard B. Cheney into signing a “waterboard kit,” news spread that the satirist of “Borat” and “Ali G” fame had tricked another victim: Sarah Palin.
Palin confirmed on her Facebook page that she’d been the subject of a “truly sick” and fairly elaborate plot to dupe her into saying unintelligent things on camera.
Cohen has been promoting a new series on Showtime called “Who is America,” which, despite its existential title, seems to consist of classic Cohen-isms: the comedian, in character, getting famous faces to do and say silly things.
Palin said she’d been contacted by a speaker’s bureau offering a “legit opportunity” to honor U.S. veterans and contribute to a “legit Showtime historical documentary.”
She and her daughter flew across the country, where she met a disabled U.S. veteran conducting the interview. Now, she says, she realizes that veteran was really Cohen, “heavily disguised” with a “fake wheelchair and all.”
“Out of respect for what I was led to believe would be a thoughtful discussion with someone who had served in uniform, I sat through a long ‘interview’ full of Hollywoodism’s disrespect and sarcasm,” she wrote.
Palin didn’t specify what she’d been asked or how she responded, but she did say how the interview ended. She had “finally had enough and literally, physically removed my mic and walked out, much to Cohen’s chagrin.”
She challenged “shallow Sacha boy,” CBS and Showtime to donate proceeds from the show to a charitable group that supports vets.
It is, of course, not the first time that Cohen has fooled a famous person. In a promotional video that aired this month, an accented Cohen is heard asking Cheney to sign his “waterboard kit,” as The Washington Post’s Avi Selk reported.
“That’s a first,” Cheney says afterward, looking up at someone off-screen, still smiling. “That’s the first time I’ve ever signed a waterboard.”
And Cohen, posing as the character Ali G, once persuaded then-just-billionaire Donald Trump to do an interview with him.
“So how long has there been businesses?” Cohen-as-Ali G asked in the interview.
“Hundreds of millions of years ago people were doing business,” Trump replied. “They were trading in rocks and stones and other things.”
He then tried to get Trump to become a partner in producing a drip-proof ice cream glove.
Cohen has used Trump’s insulting words about him as part of a teaser for the new show.
“This third rate character named Sacha Baron Cohen,” Trump begins. “I only wish that he would have been punched in the face so many times right now that he’d be in a hospital. It was disgraceful.”
Now, add Palin and her supporters to the list of people angry at Cohen.
Social media reaction to her reported appearance has splintered into three camps.
People laughing at or just angry at Sarah Palin:
People angry at Cohen, including those who say it was wrong for him to impersonate a veteran:
“I have no words for the ignorance and disrespect that Sasha displayed,” said one commenter on Palin’s Facebook post. “There are times when ‘humor’ just goes WAY to far.”
And people not too surprised that the former governor of Alaska had been duped: