News and Commentary

After Denying Sarah Palin’s Accusations About ‘Sick’ Show, Showtime Says Her Segment May Not Air

In early July, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin accused Showtime host Sacha Baron Cohen of using “sick” tricks — including posing as a wounded war veteran, “fake wheelchair and all” — to dupe her into doing an “exploitative” interview for his show. After the network denied Palin’s claims, Showtime programming president Gary Levine suggested this week in a snarky exchange that the interview she walked out of in disgust may never be aired.

“All I can say about that is that there are several people who have thrown themselves in front of buses that may not be heading their way,” Levine told reporters at TCA, in response to questions about Baron Cohen’s controversial fake Palin interview, Page Six reports.

As for why Palin’s aborted interview may not make the cut, Levine said Baron Cohen has a “very high bar” for his satirical show, which so far has targeted Republicans and conservatives far more viciously than anyone on the left and managed to get one idiot lawmaker to resign after Baron Cohen convinced him to pull down his pants and yell racial slurs. A “very high bar” indeed.

In a Facebook post published July 10, Palin slammed the “Borat” star for his “evil, exploitative, sick ‘humor'” and told the story about how he “duped” her, at least for a while.

Yup – we were duped. Ya’ got me, Sacha. Feel better now?

I join a long list of American public personalities who have fallen victim to the evil, exploitive, sick “humor” of the British “comedian” Sacha Baron Cohen, enabled and sponsored by CBS/Showtime.

This “legit opportunity” to honor American Vets and contribute to a “legit Showtime historical documentary” was requested of me via a speakers bureau.

For my interview, my daughter and I were asked to travel across the country where Cohen (I presume) had heavily disguised himself as a disabled US Veteran, fake wheelchair and all. Out of respect for what I was led to believe would be a thoughtful discussion with someone who had served in uniform, I sat through a long “interview” full of Hollywoodism’s disrespect and sarcasm – but finally had enough and literally, physically removed my mic and walked out, much to Cohen’s chagrin. The disrespect of our US military and middle-class Americans via Cohen’s foreign commentaries under the guise of interview questions was perverse.

Showtime responded by denying that Baron Cohen posed as a veteran: “Baron Cohen never presented himself as a veteran of the U.S. military to former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin during the booking process or during the filming of her interview, and contrary to her claims he did not appear in a wheelchair. In both the interview with Governor Palin and the interview with Senator Sanders, he did not wear military apparel of any kind.”

Palin also accused Baron Cohen and his team of deliberately dropping her and her teenage daughter off at the wrong airport so they’d miss their flight back to Alaska:

And as an aside, for further insight into the wealthy corporate enablers of this kind of “joke”, I’ll add that after great costs on our part in time and resources to contribute to their “documentary” the Cohen/CBS/Showtime production team purposefully dropped my daughter and me off at the wrong Washington, DC airport after the fake interview, knowing we’d miss all flights back home to Alaska. After refusing to take our calls to help get us out of the bind they’d put us in for three days, I wrote this off as yet another example of the sick nature that is media-slash-entertainment today.

So is Showtime worried about more bad publicity or perhaps even a lawsuit? Or does the fake interview really not meet Baron Cohen’s “very high bar” (which presumably means that Palin didn’t come off badly enough)? Stay tuned.

Related: Republican Lawmaker Resigns After Sacha Baron Cohen Skit