$110million Bruno lawsuit

Man named as terrorist sues

The man described as a terrorist leader in Sacha Baron Cohen’s Bruno film has launched a $110million lawsuit for defamation.

Ayman Abu Aita, who says he is a Christian peace activist, was described as a terrorist group leader with Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in the movie.

He claims the portrayal caused ‘severe harm to his livelihood and reputation’, and that his life has been threatened and his family and business have suffered, since appearing in the film.

In the scene, Brüno asked to be kidnapped to help raise his profile. Abu Aita has said his reply, when he stated he was not a terrorist, was edited out.

Abu Aita is a member of a regional committee of Fatah, the ruling Palestinian party, which has funded the militia group. He says he was interviewed by Baron Cohen in a hotel in an Israeli-controlled area near Bethlehem in July 2008 under false pretences and that the footage included in the film was a ‘manipulated’ version of the interview.

In the lawsuit, filed in the District Of Columbia, Abu Aita is also suing David Letterman - among others – as Baron Cohen spoke about the scene on his chat show as part of the promotional tour for the movie.

As well as damages, he is seeking an injunction against the distribution of the film on DVD.

Earlier this year the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, based in the West Bank, released a statement saying it was ‘very upset’ to have featured in the film, and vowed: ‘We reserve the right to respond in the way we find suitable against this man.’ Baron Cohen subsequently stepped up his personal security arrangements.

Here is an inteview Abu Aita gave to Time magazine earlier this year:


Published: 6 Dec 2009

Live comedy picks

We see you are using AdBlocker software. Chortle relies on advertisers to fund this website so it’s free for you, so we would ask that you disable it for this site. Our ads are non-intrusive and relevant. Help keep Chortle viable.