Borat is back – and the fictional Kazakh journalist’s new film spells bad news for Holocaust deniers, Donald Trump supporters and the president’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, out Friday on Amazon Prime, is the sequel to British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen’s 2006 smash hit mockumentary, which grossed $260 million, earned an Oscar nomination and spawned endless poorly punctuated catchphrases.
While the plot is under wraps, word of Baron Cohen’s latest outrageous ambushes on unsuspecting participants has spread like wildfire, with Giuliani issuing an angry denial on Wednesday after being tricked into a fake hotel room “interview” with an attractive and flirtatious young woman.
In the film, the encounter appears to leave the 76-year-old former New York mayor in a highly compromising situation, caught quite literally with his hands down his pants in the bedroom.
Giuliani said on Wednesday the scene was “a complete fabrication”.
“I was tucking in my shirt after taking off the recording equipment. At no time before, during, or after the interview was I ever inappropriate,” he tweeted.
“If Sacha Baron Cohen implies otherwise he is a stone-cold liar.”
Filmed in secret this summer as the US’ coronavirus lockdown eased, the follow-up movie again sees Baron Cohen hoodwink members of the US public and politicians via his bumbling and highly offensive reporter alter-ego.
Giuliani, a close Trump ally who introduced the president’s speech to accept his party nomination this August, told the New York Post he had thought the hotel meeting was a serious interview about the Trump administration’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I only later realised it must have been Sacha Baron Cohen. I thought about all the people he previously fooled and I felt good about myself because he didn’t get me,” Giuliani told the publication, adding that he was a “fan of some of his movies”.
He is far from the only Republican target left red-faced by the movie.
Baron Cohen described in a recent TIME op-ed how he feared for his life after crashing a gun-rights rally in Washington state for the movie.
The film’s loose premise sees Borat – disgraced by the first film’s events – offered a chance to redeem himself and his country by presenting a gift to Vice-President Mike Pence, who also appears briefly in the movie.
‘We salute Trump’
A viral marketing campaign is well underway, including a parody Kazakhstan government Twitter account with messages including “We salute Trump for crush Covid given to him by Democrats” and congratulating “Vice-P—grabber Mikhael Pence” on his debate performance.
Baron Cohen appeared in character on Monday on Jimmy Kimmel’s late night show, grilling the comedian with a “normal Kazakh plague questionnaire” before conducting an unorthodox physical exam on his host for coronavirus.
While Kimmel was in on the gag, many of Baron Cohen’s victims in the movie are once again unwitting members of the public.
Multiple subjects of the original including a pair of brash, drunken college students sued the filmmakers for conning them into appearing in the movie.
The follow-up film is already the subject of a lawsuit from the estate of a Holocaust survivor who passed away this summer, shortly after she was filmed talking with Baron Cohen by a small fake documentary crew.
Judith Dim Evans appears in the film to educate Borat on the Holocaust and is presented in a positive light.
“Upon learning after giving the interview that the movie was actually a comedy intended to mock the Holocaust and Jewish culture, Ms Evans was horrified and upset,” reads the lawsuit filed by her daughter and seen by AFP.
Baron Cohen, who is Jewish, is an outspoken campaigner against anti-Semitism and conspiracy theories, particularly against their spread on social media platforms.