- A gun-rights activist who Sacha Baron Cohen duped in the pilot episode of his new Showtime series “Who Is America?” wrote a 1,400-word Facebook post about his experience of filming his segment in April, as a “warning” to fellow conservatives.
- Philip Van Cleave, the president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, wrote that he suspected he’d been the “victim” of “someone like Michael Moore, or, even worse, a Sacha Baron Cohen-esq ‘Borat’-type of shock comedy meant to be devastatingly embarrassing and humiliating to the victim in the crosshairs.”
In the strongest segment of the pilot for Sacha Baron Cohen’s new Showtime satirical series, “Who Is America?,” Cohen, disguised as an Israel “anti-terror expert,” convinces conservative politicians and gun-rights advocates to endorse a program that would arm American toddlers with guns.
One of Cohen’s unsuspecting guests, Philip Van Cleave, the president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, who recognized that he was being duped after filming his part for the show, wrote a 1,400-word Facebook post recapping his experience on the project as a “warning” to fellow gun advocates and conservatives way back in April, The Daily Beast reported.
In the pilot, Van Cleave appears alongside Cohen’s character Col. Erran Morad in a segment promoting various stuffed-animal hybrid guns for young children, with names like “Puppy Pistol,” “Gunny Rabbit,” and “Uzicorn.”
Van Cleave wrote on the Virginia Citizens Defense League’s Facebook page in April that he suspected he’d been duped by “someone like Michael Moore, or, even worse, a Sacha Baron Cohen-esq ‘Borat’-type of shock comedy meant to be devastatingly embarrassing and humiliating to the victim in the crosshairs.”
Van Cleave claimed that he realized he was being tricked during the filming of the segment, but went along with it, “so I could find out who was behind this and where this was going.”
“I figured if I was right about this being a set up, I could blow the whistle and get a warning out to the gun-rights community across the country to protect as many people as possible and maybe derail this attack. If it turned out to be nothing, then no harm, no foul,” he wrote. “Sadly for me, I’m sure I’m going to be in whatever crazy film finally comes out, looking really stupid and, just as sadly, I’ll probably be in good company. A few of us will no doubt get hammered, but if we can get the word out IMMEDIATELY, we might be able to save the reputations of many other good people.”
Read his whole, ineffective “warning” post here, and watch his segment on the show below.