A Georgia state lawmaker said Monday he was tricked by Sacha Baron Cohen’s controversial new series and is considering legal action.
Republican state Rep. Jason Spencer said the producers of “Who is America?” got him to appear on the show by having him participate “in bogus self-defense and anti-terrorism training.” He accused the producers of having taken “advantage of my fears that I would be attacked by someone.”
“They exploited my state of mind for profit and notoriety. This media company’s deceptive and fraudulent behavior is exactly why President Donald Trump was elected,” Spencer said in a statement to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Spencer, a controversial figure in Georgia politics, said he was made to “shout provocative language” during the filming.
“It is clear the makers of this film intended to deceive me in an attempt to undermine the American conservative political movement; therefore, I have sought legal counsel to challenge this illegal and unethical behavior and plan on taking action if and when any of this fraudulently obtained footage of me is used by these Hollywood liberals to line their own pockets,” he said.
"This media company’s deceptive and fraudulent behavior is exactly why President Donald Trump was elected."
Cohen takes on a bevy of political figures on both sides of the aisle in his new Showtime series, including Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher.
With Sanders, Cohen’s character Billy Wayne Ruddick Jr., Ph.D. sat in a mobile scooter to discuss his economic policies. When asked by Sanders about his disability, Cohen said he didn’t have one and just used the scooter to conserve energy.
In another episode, Cohen posed as Col. Erran Morad, an anti-terrorism expert, and attempted to get Republican congressmen to support arming young children.
“A 3-year-old cannot defend itself from an assault rifle by throwing a Hello Kitty pencil case at it,” Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., said in a clip. “Our founding fathers did not put an age limit on the Second Amendment.”
Rohrabacher also said in the clip that having “young people trained and understand how to defend themselves in their school might actually make us safer here.”
Former Sen. Trent Lott also seemed supportive of the program.
“I support the kinder-guardians program,” he said in the clip. “We, in America, would be wise to implement it, too. 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.”
Lott didn’t remember speaking to Cohen and thought he was “talking about children being trained what to do if they have an incident," he told The Clarion-Ledger.
Rohrabacher, too, said he thought he was just discussing self-defense for children in the interview that he said wasn’t actually conducted by Cohen.
“At no time did I endorse training toddlers in handling guns. Nor was the idea even presented to me directly,” he said in a statement. “I love good satire, but good satire must reveal some basis in truth. This was fraud, a sick fraud at that, and its intention was to deceive the American people for political purposes.”
“Who is America?” premiered July 15.