Always irreverent actor Sacha Baron Cohen, best known for “Borat”, has a new movie coming out, but the movie’s studio is frantically trying to prevent you from seeing it because of one particularly outrageous scene involving the current Republican front-runner.
According to a report by The Huffington Post, Cohen’s new film “The Brothers Grimsby” includes a subplot in which billionaire mogul and potential Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump “accidentally contracts HIV.” The scene in question has reportedly been getting rave reviews. Audiences at test screenings both international and in the United States were left cracking up.
In a [one] scene, history repeats itself with ‘Daniel’ getting shot and his infected blood landing in the mouth of Donald Trump.
Unsurprisingly, there was a massive cheer when that happened.
Overseas, where people find it hard to believe that America’s political process is being hijacked by a guy like Trump, found an even more receptive audience.
In Europe, there were standing ovations. The joke, done in Baron Cohen’s standard over-the-top style, is proving cathartic to overseas audiences terrified by Trump’s rise.
Cheering someone getting HIV is a bit cruel – but Trump can’t really complain. After all, during the Ebola crisis, he very publicly suggested American doctors be abandoned to die of the illness in Africa.
The U.S. cannot allow EBOLA infected people back. People that go to far away places to help out are great-but must suffer the consequences!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 2, 2014
But while audiences are cheering, Sony Pictures isn’t laughing. Having slowly realized that, yes, Donald Trump is probably going to be the Republican presidential candidate despite having no actual political expertise and his unapologetic bigotry, the studio is freaking out. Their concerns are two-fold: First, they don’t want to alienate the millions of Republican voters who suddenly adore Donald Trump. Second, they are worried that Trump himself will learn about the scene and literally sue them.
Studio executives are nervous about angering the famously vengeful and litigious Trump, compounded by the possibility of getting on the wrong side of the possible next president.
“If you were told that they’re shying away from the movie because of the political implications, I can tell you that’s 100 percent true,” said a well-placed source.
It’s certainly not beyond the realm of possibility. Trump has, at various times, threatened to sue nearly every person, corporation, or newspaper on Earth. When the Washington Post tried to track down the number of lawsuits Trump has threatened over the years, they gave up, saying the number was too high to count.
Hilariously, Sony’s solution was to add a disclaimer to the beginning of the film that specifically tells audiences that Trump had nothing to do with the film – as if they needed to be told. This will, of course, have the unintended effect of bring more attention to Trump. Not so funny is the disturbing implications of a major motion pictures studio censoring one of its own movies (at a high cost) just to avoid angering the man who wants to be president. Already Trump has hinted that, if elected, he will begin dismantling parts of the First Amendment that deal with free press. Instead, he vowed to “open libel laws” so he can sue newspapers that attack him.
It appears that just the threat of a lawsuit has already had a chilling effect on free speech. Sacha Baron Cohen brutally mocked America’s jingoism and in-grained prejudices with “Borat” during the Bush years. If ever there was another time to take down a politician, it’s now.
Featured image via BBC screenshot