Ex-US Senate candidate Roy Moore sues comedian Sacha Baron Cohen

Roy Moore (left) and Sacha Baron Cohen are seen in a combination photo.
Roy Moore (left) and Sacha Baron Cohen are seen in a combination photo.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK •It is no laughing matter for Mr Roy Moore. The former Senate candidate from Alabama is suing Sacha Baron Cohen after he was duped into appearing on the comedian's Showtime series Who Is America?.

Mr Moore is seeking more than US$95 million (S$130 million) in damages for defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress and fraud in a suit filed on Wednesday.

Showtime and CBS, which owns it, are also named as defendants.

In the segment aired at the end of July, Cohen, appearing in character as Erran Morad, an Israeli anti-terrorism expert, interviewed Mr Moore.

A former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court and a popular if polarising figure in the state, he had been accused by several women of having pursued them sexually when he was in his 30s and they were teenagers.

The allegations contributed to his upset loss in the Senate election last December.

In the interview, Cohen brought out a device, which appeared to be a metal detector wand, but which he claimed was an Israeli invention that could detect paedophiles.

When the device indicated that Mr Moore could be one, he became angry and ended the interview.

The lawsuit said the interview had "falsely painted, portrayed, mocked and with malice defamed Judge Moore as a sex offender, which he is not".

Cohen has been sued for his practices many times, including on Da Ali G Show (2000 to 2004) and in the films Borat (2006) and Bruno (2009). The lawsuits are rarely successful because subjects do not read the fine print and sign a release that shields the producers from blame, said legal experts.

NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 07, 2018, with the headline 'Ex-US Senate candidate sues comedian'. Print Edition | Subscribe