BAILEY T. STEEN | MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 2018
Roy Moore, the GOP’s former U.S. Senate candidate for Alabama, claims he’s no snowflake. Since 1982, the conservative jurist has often framed himself as this so-called champion against the political correctness culture that’s taken root by social justice warriors throughout the Trump era.
“If the judges of Etowah County are personally offended [by my campaign], that is their problem, not mine,” Moore said in The New York Times, back when a complaint was filed against his campaign bid for Alabama’s state court. “The guilty flee when no man pursueth,” a line from Proverbs hailing himself the crusader of liberty, freedom and the all-American way. One of those freedoms includes the freedom of speech, as protected under the U.S. constitution’s First Amendment, which seems to be his next legal target.
According to a new report from Variety, Moore has officially filed a lawsuit against Hollywood comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, CBS and Showtime for his July 29th appearance on the program “Who Is America?”, seeking over $95 million in damages for “defamation”, “fraud” and the “intentional infliction of emotional distress” for a TV prank committed against him.
Cohen, known for his biting satire and hidden camera stunts, interviewed Moore while playing his series’ main character, Col. Erran Morad, a far-right former military veteran from Israel who frequently changes his army rank during conversations. Moore, previously in the thick of a Senate bid that was plagued by over nine sexual assault allegations, claims he flew to Washington, D.C. on the pretence that he’d be accepting an award for his support of Israel.
Instead, Moore was asked to conduct an interview prior to the fictitious ceremony which could possibly be shown in a new episode. The politician agreed to the terms, signed all the appropriate release documents and was soon broadcast being scanned by a fake “pedophile detector”.
“If they detect a pedophile, the wand alerts the law enforcement and the schools within a 100-mile radius,” Cohen said, taking out the wand. “It’s very, very simple to use. You just switch it on, and because neither of us is a sex offender, then it makes absolutely nothing.”
In the segment, Cohen tests the want on himself, another man in the room, and Moore. The wand, of course, only beeped heavily whenever placed over Moore’s crotch area. The man grew red-faced and flustered
“I’ve been married for 33 years and never had an accusation of such things,” Moore said before leaving the room furious. “If this is an instrument — and certainly I’m not a pedophile, OK? I don’t know, maybe Israeli technology hasn’t developed properly.”
Any reasonable person, regardless of their politics, can see this is a joke that’s perfectly protected by the First Amendment and the legal papers Moore signed. It was the process used in Cohen’s comedy “Borat! Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan”, his 2009 spin-off satire “Brüno”, his television series “The Ali-G Show”and it’s the same now.
Social justice warriors, however, are not reasonable or humorous. Instead, when the shoe is on the other foot, this particular right-wing SJW has decided to run off crying to big government when the jokes are just far too distressing, calling for this speech to be crushed for a disagreement in offensive humour that played off accusations that were already in the media cycle.
“This false and fraudulent portrayal and mocking of Judge Moore as a sex offender, on national and international television, which was widely broadcast in this district on national television and worldwide, has severely harmed Judge Moore’s reputation and caused him, Mrs. Moore, and his entire family severe emotional distress, as well as caused and will cause Plaintiffs financial damage,” the lawsuit states, claiming the release was only obtained through the use of fraudulent grounds.
Larry Klayman, a conservative lawyer and the founder of both Judicial Watch and Freedom Watch, is representing Moore and making sure to protect his client’s multi-million dollar feelings. He issued a statement claiming Moore is “a man of great faith, morality and intellect,” and that he will ensure Baron Cohen’s conduct are inspected by the judiciary and result in compensation.
But Cohen is no stranger to litigation. The aforementioned films saw multiple participants, from far-left feminists to anti-muslims rednecks, suing the man for being humiliated on camera by their own words. Those claims also didn’t stick because of the documents drafted by his companies, particularly in the fine print, providing the comedian a safety net for his antics.
Multiple publications, such as The Hollywood Reporter, have shown that the legal framework is within Cohen’s court for victory. If so, Moore will have to live with the plague of a hilarious segment he wanted removed from the public space by virtue of his offended feelings. Pfft, snowflake.
Thanks for reading!
Bailey T. Steen is a journalist, designer and film critic residing in the heart of Victoria, Australia. He’s also a proud Putin Puppet™ on occasion.
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