A New York businessman who became the unwitting butt of a "Borat" joke when he fled down Fifth Avenue with touchy-feely comedian Sacha Baron Cohen in hot pursuit has filed a federal lawsuit, claiming his appearance in the hit movie violated his civil rights.
A spooked Jeffrey Lemerond, 31, was depicted running and screaming, "Go away!" as Cohen chased him down in an attempt to hug strangers — a scene that was such a hit, it appeared in "Borat" previews as well as in the film itself.
"He saw some guy he didn't want anything to do with approaching him and reacted instinctively," said attorney Richard Emery. "He was depicted as a fool, which he's the furthest thing from."
Lemerond, who is identified as "John Doe" in court papers, is seeking unspecified damages from 20th Century Fox for stealing his likeness for commercial gain and cashing in on his humiliation.
"It's an attempt, in humor of course, to mischaracterize his personality. He was made fun of. His friends and family recognized him, of course," Emery said. "He supported [the movie distributor's] profit and they're not paying him anything."