The AP is reporting that a NYC Judge Loretta Preska has dismissed lawsuits from several individuals in the Borat film who claim they were deceived. This time, the case was brought by two etiquette teachers and the film’s driving instructor, not the drunken frat boys who made inappropriate comments, or the Romanian villagers who believed they had been misled, each of whom also brought cases that ended unsuccessfully for the plaintiffs. It’s been a few years since the release of the film, and with the lawsuits against it now winding down before the release of Bruno, it looks like the release form Cohen is using for interviews is completely bulletproof (for more information on what type of release forms they used, check out this Slate article).
Lest you think the interviewees knew precisely what they were getting into, this 2006 BBC article describes exactly what happened to you if you were one of the film’s “marks”:
Most of Borat’s victims were ensnared in a similar way. They would be contacted by a woman calling herself Chelsea Barnard from a fictional film company, One America Productions. They would be told about the foreign correspondent making a film about life in the US, with the pitch tailored to each person’s specialist subject. Then on the day of the interview, they would be presented with a release form at the last minute, be paid in cash and, finally, Borat would amble in, beginning with some serious subjects before starting his provocative routine.
It’s understandable why instructors would be peeved at the snow job they received during the making of the film. But whether that irritation is legally actionable now seems a question that has been answered pretty much definitively.
Discuss: Is this vindication for Sacha Baron Cohen’s comedic methods? Or should these people have gotten compensated for their humiliation?