Ever since English actor, screenwriter and producer Sacha Baron Cohen tweeted a video on July 4, 2018, featuring President Donald Trump, fans wondered what the comedic talent was up to. He was rumored to have a program coming to Showtime soon.
On Monday, Matt Drudge, the editor and creator of The Drudge Report, tweeted:
"Sacha Baron Cohen at it again! This time for CBS/SHOWTIME. Lots of tricks played. Both Republicans and Democrats are getting caught up in the madness. Sacha has finked Cheney, Palin, Howard Dean, Alberto Gonzales, Bernie, Trent Lott, Patraeus, Ted Koppel, and more… BEWARE!"
And one of the people on that list took to social media Tuesday to express their outrage.
Sarah Palin —conservative pundit, public speaker and former Republican Vice Presidential candidate— posted a long rant on Facebook directed at Cohen, CBS and Showtime with a screenshot of Drudge's tweet.
"Yup - we were duped," Palin's post begins. "Ya’ got me, Sacha. Feel better now?"
I join a long list of American public personalities who have fallen victim to the evil, exploitive [sic], sick 'humor' of the British 'comedian' Sacha Baron Cohen, enabled and sponsored by CBS/Showtime."
In the post, Palin claims she and her daughter were lured to Washington, DC, under false pretenses by Cohen to honor veterans.
"This 'legit opportunity' to honor American Vets and contribute to a 'legit Showtime historical documentary' was requested of me via a speakers bureau," Palin states. She then says the interview bothered her so greatly that she removed her microphone and stopped the interview.
Palin then issues several challenges to Cohen and CBS/Showtime, while referring to the performer as boy and taking jabs at Cohen's manliness.
One challenge is to donate to a charity supporting veterans. The other is to air the footage.
Here is my challenge, shallow Sacha boy: go ahead - air the footage. Experience tells us it will be heavily edited, not pretty, and intended to humiliate."
The Alaska resident then goes on to claim the production crew deliberately took her and her daughter to the wrong DC airport, and apparently unable or unwilling to use the Metro rail, bus or taxi services that run between Ronald Reagan and Dulles airports to get to the right one, they were trapped there for three days.
She concludes by stating,
Feel good and manly about your M.O., Sacha?"
By the way, my daughter thinks you’re a piece of ****, Sacha. Every honorable American Vet should feel the same."
Cohen's prior cinematic and television efforts involved a brand of comedy known as ambush style.
In his heavily disguised personas of Ali G, Borat Sagdiyev, Brüno Gehard and Admiral General Aladeen, Cohen convinced real people on camera that he was his alter ego and was able to capture, documentary style, their reactions to his over the top antics.
Some people find his humor hilarious while others find it offensive. Cohen often receives criticism for the racist or bigoted comments his characters make.
But his proponents claim Cohen merely exposes the failings of the people he interacts with who are, unlike Cohen, unscripted.
Cohen rarely gives interviews as himself, outside of any assumed identity. But in one interview with ITV's Good Morning Britain he stated his virulently anti-Semitic character Borat gives a "dramatic demonstration of how racism feeds on dumb conformity, as much as rabid bigotry … Borat essentially works as a tool. By himself being anti-Semitic, he lets people lower their guard and expose their own prejudice."
"I think that's quite an interesting thing with Borat," Cohen said during another interview, "which is people really let down their guard with him because they're in a room with somebody who seems to have these outrageous opinions. They sometimes feel much more relaxed about letting their own outrageous, politically incorrect, prejudiced opinions come out."
The people featured in Cohen's work are not always appreciative of their time on screen. The English performer has been sued several times as a result, but all lawsuits have eventually been dismissed.
As for Cohen's current project that may or may not include a segment with Sarah Palin, Cohen alluded to it on his own Twitter account Sunday.
https://t.co/ngkMhXeReK— Sacha Baron Cohen (@Sacha Baron Cohen)1531087809.0
Then at 1:03pm EST, Monday, Twitter account Who Is America? posted,
"@SachaBaronCohen is back! You've been warned."
.@SachaBaronCohen is back! You've been warned. Series premiere of #WhoIsAmerica this Sunday at 10p/9c. Only on… https://t.co/RtC5xHYjfA— Who Is America? on Showtime (@Who Is America? on Showtime)1531155835.0
The description for the Twitter account also states, "@SachaBaronCohen is back! You've been warned. #WhoIsAmerica? premieres this Sun at 10p/9c. Only on @Showtime."