CPAC threatens legal action against ‘Borat 2’ production company over KKK scene
The American Conservative Union (ACU), the organization behind the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), is threatening to sue the makers of the new film “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” due to scenes shot at the 2020 conference earlier this year.
In one scene, a character is shown entering the event dressed in a Ku Klux Klan-inspired outfit. ACU claims this falsely suggested that its organization and the KKK have aligning ideologies.
“Any implication that KKK style hatred would be welcome at CPAC is false and malicious,” attorneys for the ACU said in a letter to the film’s star, Sacha Baron Cohen, and production company Four by Two Films.
The letter demands that the filmmakers “immediately cease and desist from using any content filmed during CPAC in Borat 2 and its trailers[.]”
In the movie, which is a sequel to the 2006 hit comedy, Cohen’s Borat character is depicted as walking through the CPAC venue’s lobby in KKK garb, but according to the ACU and its attorneys, it was really another actor.
The letter says CPAC security “intercepted an in individual” dressed as a KKK member who was trying to get into the event. ACU communications director Ian Walters told Fox News this person was not Cohen but a paid actor.
“It is unclear whether Borat’s Fake Klansman colleague is an actual KKK member on your team, a Democrat politician working with your production team, or one of you purchased a racist costume,” the letter said. “In any case, he attempted to attend CPAC under false light and with a malicious purpose.”
The letter goes on to say that the presence of someone at CPAC in a KKK outfit is damaging to the ACU’s reputation and is “insensitive” to actual targets of KKK hatred.
“If Amazon and the Borat team somehow believe that racism and white supremacy is amusing or entertaining, please know that CPAC strongly disagrees and finds repugnant your trivialization of the KKK’s legacy of hatred, intimidation, and murder,” the letter continued.
Walters told Fox News that an image of the person in a KKK outfit at CPAC made its way onto social media soon after the incident took place and was shared by Black Lives Matter D.C.
“People were scared,” Walters said. He noted that while he can appreciate a prank, “this isn’t pranksterism anymore.”
During another scene in the movie, a speech being given by Vice President Mike Pence was interrupted by someone — in the movie it is believed to be Borat — dressed up as President Trump who was holding a woman over his shoulder.
Walters said he does not know if the person who did this was Cohen, but he said that day there were several people dressed as Trump trying to get into the event and that security suspected they were part of a fake ID ring. For two hours, Secret Service and law enforcement officials investigated this, Walters said, leaving the rest of the event largely unmonitored.
The Trump impersonators had a 12-person security detail with them, Walters said, with everyone having paid for a ticket. He also said they had an attorney with them who was also with the actor in the KKK outfit.
Fox News reached out to that attorney for comment, but he did not immediately respond.
The letter accuses the filmmakers of false light invasion of privacy and unauthorized use of the ACU’s intellectual property by featuring its registered trademarks without permission.
The ACU asked the filmmakers to “immediately” make changes to the movie and trailer to omit ACU and CPAC logos, as well as footage of the CPAC event itself and the KKK incident.
“Should you not make these modifications to Borat 2, we will vigorously pursue all available legal remedies,” the letter concluded.
The film was released Oct. 23 via Amazon’s Prime Video.