Last week, Sarah Palin wrote a blog post on her website calling out what she described as Sacha Baron Cohen’s “evil, exploitive, sick” humor. She claimed that he had “heavily disguised himself as a disabled US Veteran, fake wheelchair and all” for an interview he taped with her for his Showtime series Who Is America? Palin’s claims that Baron Cohen had posed as a veteran led to many of her supporters, including fellow Who Is America? victim Joe Walsh, participating in a #BoycottShowtime campaign on Twitter. Claims of “stolen valor” culminated when an anti-Baron Cohen billboard appeared across the street from CBS studios in Los Angeles this week, reportedly from a “conservative street artist”:
The Baron Cohen character in question, Billy Wayne Ruddick Jr., Ph.D., responded to Palin’s complaints last week on Twitter, saying that he is not a disabled veteran but only fought for his country once “when I shot a Mexican who came onto my property.” And now Showtime has waded into the controversy by releasing a statement of their own in support of Baron Cohen today:
There has been widespread misinformation over the past week about the character of Billy Wayne Ruddick Jr., Ph.D., performed by Sacha Baron Cohen on the Showtime comedy series Who Is America? Baron Cohen did not present himself as a disabled veteran, and viewers nationwide who watched the premiere on Sunday can now attest to that. In Sunday’s episode, during an interview with Senator Bernie Sanders, Baron Cohen in character as Dr. Ruddick was asked by the Senator if he is disabled, and he stated that he is not and uses a mobility scooter to conserve his energy. In addition, 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.
Your move, Palin.