Borat wins again

Another lawsuit thrown out

Sacha Baron Cohen has won another legal battle over his Borat movie.

A New York judge has thrown out a businessman’s claim that his reputation was damaged when he was shown fleeing from the bogus Kazakhstani reporter on the streets of Manhattan

The 2006 film showed financial analyst Jeffrey Lemerond running down Fifth Avenue yelling ‘Go away!’ as Cohen's character tried to hug him.

Lemerond's lawyer claimed filmmakers used the man's likeness without consent and sued for defamation, seeking unspecified damages for the ‘public ridicule, degradation and humiliation’ he suffered.

But US District Court Judge Loretta Preska rejected the case, saying the scene in question was ‘newsworthy’ - and therefore not defamatory— because it tried to provide ironic commentary on society. Although she did concede that the movie employed a brand of humour that appealed to the most 'childish and vulgar' in its viewers.

Previously, separate lawsuits from an Alabama etiquette coach, two ‘frat boys’ and two Romanian villagers against the movie have been thrown out on free-speech grounds.

Barn Cohen is currently filming a follow-up in the guise of provocative gay fashionista Bruno, which has already caused a stir during filming in Kansas.

Published: 2 Apr 2008

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