November 20, 2006, - 10:57 am
By Debbie Schlussel
While pretentious British comedian (and friend of Madonna) Sacha Baron Cohen is making millions off the “Borat” “film,” those innocent, good-hearted Americans he tricked into being in his movie aren’t faring so well.
The success of “Borat” has spurred a bidding war on his future movies, and he’s raking up. But then there are people like Jim Sell, Dharma Arthur, and Joe Behar–all taken advantage of and paid a pittance to be the butt of Cohen’s “jokes.” The November 27th issue of People details what happened to the innocents you see in the highly over-rated movie:
* Jim Sell–A car salesman at Criswell Automotive in Gaithersburg, Maryland, he used to sell 35-40 cars a month. But after Borat wasted hours of his time, Sell isn’t selling because he’s become the butt of a national joke. He says he’s only sold 3 cars in the last month.
* Dharma Arthur–The producer, er . . . EX-producer, at WAPT-TV, in Jackson, Mississippi, lost her job after booking Borat for an interview on her newscast, believing he was a legitimate foreign journalist. She wrote to Newsweek:
Because of him, by boss lost faith in [me]. A man who [causes] so much harm . . . is lauded as a comedic genius.
* Joe Behar–With his wife, he owns the Four Seasons Kosher Bed & Breakfast in Newton, Massachusetts, at which Borat stays before running out in disgust at “the Jewish cockroaches.” Now, people think the B&B has cockroaches and don’t want to stay there. The cockroaches (“Jewish spies”) were superimposed onto the film through special effects.
* The people of Glod, Romania–They’re not happy either. They had to play Kazakhs in the humiliating beginning of this silly movie, but were only paid a few dollars each. They, too, feel taken advantage of by multi-millionaire scammer Sacha Baron Cohen.
* Civil War antique shop owners–”Borat” deliberately smashes $400 worth of their wares, and doesn’t pay them back for about half of it. These are clearly not rich people. There’s hardly a run on Civil War antiques.
Now that he is rolling in dough off the backs of these good people, what will Sacha Baron Cohen do to restore the lives of those he ruined? What will he do to get Ms. Arthur her job back? Or Jim Sell and Joe Behar their lost business and reputations back?
Absolutely nothing. He’s rich, and the joke’s on them and you. “How Borat Screws America” would have been a far more apropos title for this movie.
Tags: Borat, car salesman, comedian, Dharma Arthur, foreign journalist, Gaithersburg, Glod, How Borat Screws America, Jackson, Jim Sell, Joe Behar, legitimate foreign journalist, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Newsweek, Newton, Or Jim Sell, producer, Romania, Sacha Baron Cohen, Sacha Baron Cohen By Debbie Schlussel, USD, WAPT-TV