On Tuesday, former Vice Presidential candidate and Alaska governor Sarah Palin said that comedian Sacha Baron Cohen tricked her into doing a fake interview for his mysterious upcoming Showtime show Who Is America?
Palin claims that she participated in what she thought was a legitimate Showtime documentary honoring American soldiers, but was actually a prank where Baron Cohen presented himself as a disabled veteran and subjected her to "Hollywoodism's [sic] disrespect and sarcasm" before she walked out. In her post, Palin didn't say exactly what he did, but a source familiar with the interview told People that "the last straw" was a question about "a government-funded sex-change operation for Chelsea Clinton."
On Thursday, Baron Cohen responded -- sort of -- with a crass in-character statement telling his side of the story. This response from "Billy Wayne Ruddick Jr., PhD" that Baron Cohen retweeted gives us a better sense of what we'll be seeing when the show premieres this Sunday. "Ruddick" says he never stole valor by saying he served in the military when he didn't, and that when he said he was "in the service" he meant the United Parcel Service.
Ruddick's website, Truthbrary.org, is a parody of unhinged right-wing conspiracy media that features "stories" like "HILLARY CLINTON IS A SATANIST - ILLUMINATI DEFECTOR," "OBAMA IS A KENYAN" and "Hibernating Alien Discovered Inside Secret Chamber In The Great Pyramid"
Ruddick and Truthbrary.org may be partially inspired by right-wing news site the Drudge Report founder Matt Drudge, since in one of the brief character shots in the teaser Baron Cohen is wearing a straw hat of the kind favored by Drudge. Ruddick seems to be one of several characters Baron Cohen will play on Who Is America?
Sarah Palin probably isn't in on this, but she sure is giving Who Is America? a lot of free publicity.
Who Is America? premieres Sunday, July 15 at 10/9c on Showtime.
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