Koppel, who did not sign a release for the shoot, shared the full email he received about the bogus six-episode TV project with THR:
My name is Julia Harris and I am working on a new project to be aired on Showtime called AGE OF REASON (working title). Our show features conversations with distinguished experts in science and public policy, highlighting the brightest and most reputable minds on today’s most important topics. Our show has been picked up for 6 episodes, and we are currently in production.
Our project’s goal is to cut through the noise and disinformation surrounding today’s most important issues in a way that’s clear and accessible to everyday Americans. As one of the world’s most well-respected media figures who has really seen it all throughout his career, we’d be thrilled to have Mr. Ted Koppel on our program.
As well as the many political points we would love him to help explain (immigration, health care, our current political state, etc.), we would love to hear Mr. Koppel’s personal story — his background and how that helped shape his views, and where he sees opportunities and obstacles ahead. We hope to make a real difference in elevating these conversations with facts and reason.
Our team is tentatively scheduled to shoot on Nov. 9th, 12th, and 14th in the Washington, D.C. area. Would Mr. Koppel have time to sit down with us on any of those dates? We’d love to tape with him for 30 mins to an hour if possible but would be grateful for any amount of time he can spare. We would be happy to provide transportation to and from our studio, and if he is not in the D.C. area, we can also provide a first-class plane ticket.
Baron Cohen victim No. 5 was disgraced former Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, who released a statement revealing he agreed to attend what sounds like the same pro-Israel event as Joe Walsh. “I am involved in several court cases presently to defend my honor and character against vicious false political attacks by liberals like Cohen. If Showtime airs a defamatory attack on my character, I may very well be involved in another,” Moore said in his statement. “As for Mr. Cohen, whose art is trickery, deception, and dishonesty, Alabama does not respect cowards who exhibit such traits! It’s been a long time since I fought for my country in Vietnam. I’m ready to defend her again!” Here’s his full statement:
Roy Moore says he was duped by Sacha Baron Cohen for his new CBS/Showtime series & threatens legal action "If Showtime airs a defamatory attack on my character..."Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) July 12, 2018
Some of “Dr. Cain’s” best hits from the interview included calling the U.S. Army “an active terrorist organization,” saying that “‘The Dukes of Hazzard’ is like the Southern version of Roots,” and my favorite, claiming that “white supremacists are responsible for most of the gun deaths in America.”
At some point it occurred to me that the silliness of his remarks meant we were likely being “put on,” but it never occurred to me to what extent.
The interview abruptly ended, without prior notice, when he failed to return from his latest sprint to the restroom. We made it through roughly 90 minutes, and his producer apologized for Dr. Cain’s gastrointestinal meltdown and subsequent exit to seek relief.
Throughout his outrageous appearance, many of my listeners thought the absurdities they were hearing from “Dr. Cain” had to be made up. We probably received 40 to 50 emails during Cain’s interview speculating that his appearance was “performance art” — either that or the greatest vindication of conservatism ever broadcast over the air.
Then we received an off-air call from one listener, who specifically asked that we not name him, that quickly solved the mystery. At some point, my producer had mentioned the name of the supervising producer of the “documentary” on the air: Todd Schulman. The listener told us that Schulman was the man who had secured his participation as a guest in the infamous “Southern dinner scene” in the hilarious Cohen movie Borat. A quick IMDB check revealed Schulman to be connected to virtually every project Cohen had starred in dating back to the Da Ali G Show, including Cohen’s new show.
Lucky No. 7 is former Arizona sheriff, proud “concentration camp” overseer, and Trump pardon winner Joe Arpaio, who confirmed to Breitbart that he too was duped by Baron Cohen, this time disguised as what Arpaio described as a Finnish comedian. According to Arpaio, he was contacted sometime last fall by two producers who wanted to feature him in a Showtime show about 20 of the most popular people in America. He agreed to participate, went to Los Angeles in October 2017, and was taken to a “warehouse-like facility” for the interview, which he was told would air live to 2 million people. Unlike Ted Koppel, Arpaio admitted to Breitbart that he “signed some kind of contract before filming, which I have done numerous times, did not read all the info.” Arpaio was particularly uncomfortable with Cohen’s character using words like “blow job” and “golden shower”:
Arpaio recalled Cohen using “highly inappropriate” phraseology that he says made him “very uncomfortable.”
“He came up with certain words which were hard for me to hear,” Arpaio said, including “blowjob” and “talking about people working for” a “hand job.”
So I started getting a little pissed,” he said. Cohen also mentioned “golden shower,” Arpaio stated. Arpaio’s typed notes to document some of those words [sic].
“I felt uncomfortable with some of the words they were using but I had to live through it. I am not the type of guy who gets up and walks out,” he said. “I never walked out in thousands of interviews. I just take it.”
“I was kind of shocked,” Arpaio continued. “But I figured this is Finland and this is a famous comedian.”
EXCLUSIVE: Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest victim is GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz: "They totally got me." From :The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) July 13, 2018
Gaetz went on to say he’s a big fan of Baron Cohen’s other characters (he apparently shared his Borat impression with The Daily Beast) and insisted that he’s not worried about his appearance on the show: “I can’t wait to see it.”
Senator Bernie Sanders appeared in the opening segment of the premiere episode to talk with Baron Cohen’s character Billy Wayne Ruddick Jr. about Obamacare and economic inequality and listen to Ruddick’s nonsensical plan to move the 99 percent into the one percent. “The rest of the population, by definition, they’re not in the one percent. They’re the rest of the population. All of the population is a hundred percent.” Not really a bad look for Sanders, so it’s no surprise that he felt no need to give a statement about the appearance before the episode aired.
South Carolina couple and Trump Republicans Jane Page and Mark Thompson welcomed Baron Cohen’s liberal character Dr. Nira Cain-N’Degeocello into their home for a fake show called >Heal the Divide. They politely listened as Cain-N’Degeocello told them about everything from starting a “Menstrual Flag Program” sponsored by the Clinton Foundation to how his partner Naomi likes to have sex with dolphins. During the episode’s closing credits, the couple is asked by a crew member to assess Cain-N’Degeocello’s “values system,” to which Mark replies, “Can I be crudely honest? Fucked up.”
Fine-art expert Christy Cones met with Baron Cohen’s ex-con character Ricky Sherman to assess his bodily-fluid paintings and cut off some of her pubes for him during the premiere episode. She went so far as to call Ricky’s art “genius.” Reflecting on the ordeal, she later told the Washington >Post, “Am I supposed to say I’m embarrassed? All conversations about art are important.”
Unlike Gaetz and Walsh, these guys didn’t attempt much damage control before their contributions to the Kinder-Guardians segment by Baron Cohen’s Israeli character Erran Morad. You can read more about their appearances here, but for now, here’s a notable line from each one:
Rohrabacher: “Maybe having the young people trained and understand how to defend themselves in their school might actually make us safer here.”
Lott: “It’s something that we should think about, America. About putting guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens — good guys — whether they be teachers, or whether they actually be talented children or highly trained preschoolers.”
Wilson: “A 3-year-old cannot defend itself from a assault rifle by throwing a Hello Kitty pencil case at it.”
Van Cleave: “Point Puppy Pistol’s mouth right at the bad man!”
Pratt: “Children under 5 also have elevated levels of the pheromone Blink-182, produced by the part of the liver known as the Rita Ora. This allows nerve reflexes to travel along the Cardi B neural pathway to the Wiz Khalifa 40 percent faster, saving time and saving lives.”
Jeffrey Lord — the Trump supporter who was fired by CNN last year for tweeting “Sieg Heil!” — admitted he was tricked into appearing on Baron Cohen’s show as well. Speaking to the Wrap, Lord said he was asked by Showtime to appear in a new series he described as “regular folk interviewing experts.” He went to the show’s Washington, D.C., office thinking he’d be interviewed by a Trump supporter who turned out to be Baron Cohen in disguise. Here’s the full statement Lord gave to the Wrap about his Baron Cohen encounter, in which he claims he knew it was a setup and “the joke is on” Showtime:
My first thought? I am being set up. This is Showtime’s/Hollywood’s idea of what a Trump supporter is. Second thought … too late. Relax. Have fun. No thought of Sacha Baron Cohen. So on we go. Among other things he fulminated about supposed “charges” that Trump was in to prostitutes. He shows me a photo of Trump with a young girl. It is … Ivanka. I politely point this out. He railed against everything from the studio set up and more that I can’t recall, always presenting himself as pro-Trump and indignant. He had a “son” who would appear to calm his “Dad” down. Sitting almost knee-to-knee with the guy I am looking intently at the very dark eyes and the rest. I had the obvious thought that the hair and beard were make-up. It simply didn’t add up. Oh well, I thought. I am taking care of my then-soon-to-be 99 year old Mom. I have long ago learned what is important in life and what is not. This is silly. I have a sense of humor, a good one at that. This will disappear once shown in a nanosecond. Once done I walked outside with the Showtime staffers and burst out laughing. And got paid! Thank you Showtime! The joke is on them!
This is QUITE a statement from Jason Spencer, a state rep from Georgia, also duped by Sacha Baron Cohen. Says he took part in an anti-terrorism training video, including “a kidnapping scenario where I was repeatedly asked to shout provocative language....”Sopan Deb (@SopanDeb) July 16, 2018
Bachelor alum Corinne Olympios revealed she was tricked by Sacha Baron Cohen, telling The Daily Beast she filmed a segment with him when he was in disguise as a “crazy Italian man.” Olympios says she agreed to film a segment with the promise of winning a “reality star of the year” award, but when she began to shoot the segment — which involved a hazmat suit and being separated from her phone and manager — she started getting suspicious:
According to Olympios, the crew was so committed to the bit that they even pretended they couldn’t speak English. “I was like grabbing every cameraman, like, am I going to die? Am I ok? Where’s the exit? why can’t I leave?” she recalled. “And they’re all looking at me like trying not to laugh or say anything, and they’re like, no English, no English. I’m like, oh my god, I’m going to die here. It’s going to happen!”
“So they saw that I was getting really mad and they were like ok, we just have one more thing for you to do, [your manager]’s waiting right outside for you, so I’m like, fine. I’m reading this child with gun thing, and I’m like what the fuck is wrong with you guys, I can’t say this, I don’t believe in this. They’re like no, no, it’s fine, it’s just for Italy, you have no friends in Italy, who cares…At this point I just want to get out of there, so I just did it.”
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