After seeing the Borat movie, I would guess that most of the $17 million budget for this nearly dogma-style film must have gone into legal insurance. If that was the case, this may have been money well spent, as star Sacha Baron Cohen was threatened with legal action by the government of Kazakhstan even before the film opened, another by a group of German gypsies, and yet another possible lawsuit by a man purporting to be “the real Borat”, among other pending cases.
Closer to home, yesterday two college students who appear in the film filed suit against the producers of “Borat” at the Santa Monica Courthouse.
Both men, and the fraternity they belonged to, as well as the college they attend, are unidentified in the court docs. The John Does claim that before filing they were “assured the film would not be shown in the U.S. and their identities would not be revealed.”
They were both selected to appear in the movie and, according to the suit, taken “to a drinking establishment ‘to loosen up’ and provided alcoholic beverages.” They claim they signed the movie releases after “heavy drinking.”
The film features a scene where Borat hitches a ride with three drunken USC students…
…of the University of South Carolina.
While they aren’t made to look any dumber than your regular drunk frat guy, the plaintiffs blame the producers for getting them drunk and causing them “humiliation, mental anguish, and emotional and physical distress, loss of reputation, goodwill and standing in the community.”
I can’t help but think that these are the same kinds of guys who delight in watching “Girls Gone Wild” videos… but what place does conjecture have in a blog?
For our armchair lawyers out there, I ask for you to take a look and see not only if this suit has merit, but if it should be handled in a Los Angeles courthouse. While the damages were allegedly inflicted by the producers/defendants inflicted in South Carolina, the paperwork argues “this court has personal jurisdiction over all DEFENDANTS because at all times mentioned herein DEFENDANTS are located in the County of Los Angeles, State of California” (emphasis mine)…. but “within” only refers to events that happened out of state…
Regardless, the suit is a fun little read… how often do you see a criminal complaint begin by arguing, “Sacha Baron Cohen is a prankster”?
(source: “Borat Lawsuit — High Five!!!” at TMZ.com)