Sacha Baron Cohen has hit back at Rudy Giuliani’s claims that the Borat honey trap video is a ‘complete fabrication’, saying ‘heaven knows what he has done with other female journalists in hotel rooms’.
The video, which is a scene from Baron Cohen’s Borat sequel film that was released in full on Friday, shows Giuliani in a compromising position in a New York City hotel room alongside a young woman posing as a conservative TV reporter.
In the scene, President Trump‘s personal attorney is seen lying on the bed, tucking in his shirt with his hand down his pants as the woman, who plays Borat’s daughter Tutar in the film, stands nearby.
After a snippet of the scene emerged earlier this week, Giuliani said he was only tucking in his shirt after removing his recording equipment and insisted that he was never ‘inappropriate’.
In an interview on ABC’s Good Morning America on Friday, Baron Cohen was asked to respond after Giuliani accused him of being a ‘stone-cold liar’.
‘I would say that if the president’s lawyer found what he did there appropriate behavior, then heaven knows what he has done with other female journalists in hotel rooms,’ Baron Cohen said.
‘I urge everyone to watch the movie. It is what it is, he did what he did. Make your own mind up. It was pretty clear to us.’
In one part, Giuliani can be heard asking for the woman’s phone number and address. That audio is played over a shot in which the woman can be seen removing his microphone and he pats her lower back
The scene from Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat sequel film that was released in full on Friday, shows Rudy Giuliani in a compromising position in a New York City hotel room alongside a young woman posing as a conservative TV reporter
His comments came as the full controversial scene emerged on Friday following the release of the film, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, on Amazon Prime.
The scene, which was shot back in July in the Mark Hotel, shows Giuliani sitting down with 24-year-old actress Maria Bakalova, who was posing as a conservative reporter, for an interview about the Trump administration’s COVID-19 response.
During the scene, Giuliani answered several questions about coronavirus, including how many lives he thought Trump had saved due to his handling of the pandemic.
In the interview scene, the woman was flirtatious with Giuliani and could be seen repeatedly touching his knee.
She also told him he was ‘one of her greatest heroes’ and that she felt like she was in a fairy tale. At one point, she said she felt like she was Melania Trump.
After being interrupted by Baron Cohen’s Borat character, who was disguised as a sound technician, the scene cuts to Giuliani following the woman into the hotel bedroom as she asks: ‘Should we have a drink in the bedroom’.
The 30-second scene in the bedroom cuts repeatedly to different frames from the various hidden cameras. It is not clear how much of it has been edited together to portray a specific story line.
It shows Giuliani asking for her phone number and address. That audio is played over a shot in which the woman can be seen removing his microphone and he pats her lower back.
He can then be seen lying back on the bed to tuck in his shirt after she helps remove his recording equipment.
He has his hands in his pants when Baron Cohen’s character rushes in for a second time wearing an outlandish outfit.
Baron Cohen on Friday hit out at Rudy Giuliani’s claims that the Borat honey trap video is a ‘complete fabrication’, saying ‘heaven knows what he has done with other female journalists in hotel rooms’
In the scene, President Trump’s personal attorney is seen lying on the bed, tucking in his shirt with his hand down his pants as the woman stands nearby
Discussing the scene during the GMA interview on Friday, Baron Cohen said he was in a hideaway in the hotel room and keeping tabs on what was happening.
‘I was quite concerned for her during the scene,’ Baron Cohen said.
After a snippet of the scene emerged earlier this week, Giuliani said he was only tucking in his shirt after removing his recording equipment and insisted that he was never ‘inappropriate’
‘We built a hideaway that I was hiding in during the scene. I was monitoring it by text. It’s my responsibility as a producer to ensure the lead actor is looked after.’
Bakalova, who joined Baron Cohen for the interview, said she felt safe the entire time.
After a clip of the scene emerged this week prior to the film being released, Giuliani declared that it was a ‘hit job’ and a ‘total fabrication’.
‘The Borat video is a complete fabrication,’ he tweeted.
‘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. If Sacha Baron Cohen implies otherwise he is a stone-cold liar.
‘This is an effort to blunt my relentless exposure of the criminality and depravity of Joe Biden and his entire family.’
Speaking on his weekly radio program on WABC on Wednesday, Giuliani doubled down that he was only tucking in his shirt.
‘I am tucking my shirt in, I assure you, that’s all that I was doing,’ he said.
Discussing the scene during the GMA interview on Friday, Baron Cohen said he was in a hideaway in the hotel room and keeping tabs on what was happening. Maria Bakalova, who was the woman in the scene, said she felt safe the entire time
Giuliani said he went to what he thought was an interview and said it felt ‘legitimate.’
‘I did the interview with the young woman who was new to interviewing and I was being kind to her,’ he said. ‘At one point she explained to me some problems I had, I actually prayed with her.’
When he got up to leave he said he had his jacket on.
‘I was fully clothed at all times and I had to take off the electronic equipment and when the electronic equipment came off, some of it was in the back and my shirt got a little out, came a little out, although my clothes were entirely on,’ he said.
He said he realized that something was amiss when the woman asked if he’d like a massage.
‘She says something about, ‘Do I want a massage?’ I realize now that this is a set-up and I call my security guy Brian who’s right outside,’ Giuliani said. ‘And then all of the sudden crazy Sacha Baron Cohen runs in with a cape on and he’s yelling and screaming all sorts of stupid stuff.’
The former New York City mayor called police after the encounter but there is no indication an investigation was launched.
Giuliani spoke to the New York Post’s Page Six column about the encounter back in July but did not mention the bedroom aspect.
He has since argued that in calling the police he proved he was an innocent party.
‘If I was doing anything wrong, I would not call the police and if he was doing anything right, he wouldn’t have been running away,’ Giuliani said.
Borat review: Crass, vulgar… but if you love the first movie you’ll be smitten, writes BRIAN VINER who gives it four stars
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
Donald Trump‘s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani is not the only person entitled to watch Borat 2 through his fingers. For the rest of us, too, that is at times the only proper response to a comedy that doesn’t so much push at the boundaries of taste as bulldoze them over the edge of a cliff.
The set-up is the same as the 2006 mockumentary which first introduced Sacha Baron Cohen’s fictional Kazakh journalist to an unsuspecting world.
Baron Cohen’s Borat, accompanied this time by his teenage daughter Tutar (credited as Maria Bakalova), travels through America hoodwinking real people into thinking he is the genuine article.
Since the events of 2006, he has spent years breaking rocks in the gulag for bringing shame on his country by making it a global laughing stock.
But now he has been given a mission – and with it, a chance to rescue his reputation. Again and again, he convinces folk that he really has brought Tutar along as a gift for ‘Vice-Premier Mikhail Pence’, the second-in-command to the magnificent ‘Premier McDonald Trump’, as a way of redeeming his distant homeland in the eyes of the ‘US and A’.
Baron Cohen once more violates the unwritten rules of screen comedy
Vice President Mike Pence didn’t know it at the time, but when he delivered his speech at CPAC earlier this year, he was actually taking part in a secret sequel to Borat (pictured)
The results – including a scene in which, dressed as Trump, he interrupts Pence’s address to a Republican rally – are by turn riotously funny and almost unwatchably uncomfortable.
There is another scene in which Borat and Tutar attend a debutante ball in the city of Macon, in the southern state of Georgia.
She is solemnly presented as an undergraduate at ‘Grand Canyon University’, studying ‘cage maintenance and electronics with a focus on VCR repairs’.
Just as you’re marvelling at their XX-sized gullibility and processing the sheer improbability of proud fathers and their southern belle daughters, dressed to the nines, going through this absurd social rigmarole in the 21st century, just as the laughter is again bubbling up in your throat at the spectacle of the Kazakh duo taking to the floor to perform their fertility dance, it coagulates into something else entirely.
Baron Cohen once more violates the unwritten rules of screen comedy. Is it outrage? Horror? Disgust? Suppressed hysteria? You will have to decide for yourself.
In a way, that is Baron Cohen’s genius. Once again, he has masterminded a film (though it is directed by Jason Woliner) that is beyond anyone else’s ability or daring.
He makes patsies of everyone he and Tutar encounter, nobody more so than Giuliani, the 76-year-old former mayor of New York City, who grants this engaging foreign girl an interview in a hotel suite – then ends up in a situation that, unless there is some cinematic sleight of hand involved, looks horribly compromising.
Borat and Tutar attend a debutante ball in the city of Macon, in the southern state of Georgia
I’ve already watched it twice, and I’m still not quite sure what I saw. Either way, 24-year-old Bulgarian actress Bakalova is terrifically good – on occasion even upstaging Baron Cohen himself.
Just like the original, Borat 2 is audaciously brilliant in that it starts off looking like a mickey-take of a backward, former Soviet republic, when really the only object of the mockery is America.
In particular, this film sets out to catch the more diehard Trump supporters and far-Right conspiracy theorists, scooping up more than a few others in its satirical net, such as a cosmetic surgeon quite happy to inflate the breasts of 15-year-old Tutar, who wants only to be the next ‘Queen Melania’.
Most of them unwittingly conspire in their own ridicule, though there are times – as with a kindly Holocaust survivor in a synagogue – when your heart goes out to them. Not everyone deserves to be one of Borat’s victims.
Similarly, not everyone will want to see this film. If the TV show Game For A Laugh made you wince, it’s definitely not for you.
Ditto, if you think everyone should be permitted their convictions and ways of life without being played as fools by a subversive Englishman with a candid camera and a political agenda.
All the same, there were moments when it made me laugh more than any film has for ages, possibly since the original Borat.
And three cheers, too, for its topicality. MeToo sensibilities are cheekily addressed, as Tutar begins to find that the suppression of women in her own country – where it is ‘enshrined in law’ that men must not love their daughters as much as their sons – is not the case everywhere.
And there is an inspired twist involving the Covid-19 pandemic.
But maybe I’ve already given too much away. If you loved the original Borat, then you will be smitten again. This one is even better.
If you thought it crass, vulgar and unutterably puerile, well – this one is a fair bit worse.
Borat 2 is available on Amazon Prime Video from today.