Life after unwanted celebrity status?
October 10, 2006 2:35 PM   Subscribe

A friend of mine unknowingly agreed to be in the Borat movie. Of course, Borat made him look like a complete ass. How can I help convince him it's not the end of the world?

Last year, a guy came to my town claiming to be filming a documentary for Kazakhstan. He recruited my friend John to be in it. John signed the papers and everything- that's not the issue. However, the producers got John really drunk and he said some things he really regrets that made it to the final cut. John's terrified that everyone's going to see the movie and think he's an awful human being (which he's not). He's very distraught. He feels like he's disgraced his family, he wants to drop out of school, and feels like his life is ruined. How can I help him?
posted by kidsleepy to Grab Bag (79 answers total) 50 users marked this as a favorite
Which one is he? One of the drunk frat guys in the RV?
I saw the movie last week. I can tell you if he appeared to be an ass...
posted by nineRED at 2:41 PM on October 10, 2006

It is just a movie. It will come out. It will go to DVD. And no one will remember it next year.
posted by birdherder at 2:43 PM on October 10, 2006

Your friend can reasonably console himself that people who pay to see this movie, almost by self-selection and operation of simple destiny, will not likely be in a position to detrimentally affect his life in any substantial way. Also, by the time it goes to DVD and cable, he'll have aged somewhat, and had his chance to grow significant facial hair, or remove same completely.
posted by paulsc at 2:46 PM on October 10, 2006 [1 favorite]

he got duped by a master, nothing to be shamed about, should be proud in fact

what birdherder said too
posted by qbxk at 2:50 PM on October 10, 2006

He could threaten to sue the filmmakers, claiming that they defrauded him by falsely representing the nature of their film, which is not in fact a documentary about Khazakstan.

I assume he would be unlikely to succeed. Lawyers will know better.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:54 PM on October 10, 2006

He (perhaps preemptively) tell everyone that he really wanted to be in the Borat movie, he thought it would be so "kewl", and he's been doing work on his own stand-up routine. So, knowing it would ensure he got in the movie, he played up his stand-up persona and said, in his schtick character, the unkind/racist/unpleasant/mysogynistic things he said.
posted by orthogonality at 2:55 PM on October 10, 2006 [1 favorite]

He should make a webpage called "So Sorry, Kazakhstan" complete with pictures of himself giving a heartfelt apology to the Kazakhi people for leading them astray about the American people. If he kitsches it up and plays along with the joke, he becomes part of the joke, not the butt of it.

(Also and amazon wishlist might net him a few toys!)
posted by robocop is bleeding at 2:55 PM on October 10, 2006 [7 favorites]

I agree with qbxk. Borat has taken in statesmen and diplomats. Your friend made the same mistake as anyone would have.
posted by BorgLove at 2:56 PM on October 10, 2006

boy. that's a tough situation. hopefully people who recognize him will recognize how drunk he is. still, producers getting him drunk sounds shady. when did he sign? before or after they got him drunk? also, you should answer nineRED's question. He can tell you how long the segment was, and how major of a part your friend played. maybe you should pose this question again to him over at The Askhole.
posted by punkbitch at 3:02 PM on October 10, 2006

I didn't even know that there was a Borat movie. If your friend didn't want to become famous, I don't think that he seriously jeapardized that goal.
posted by Humanzee at 3:03 PM on October 10, 2006

What did he learn from the experience in that cruelest of mirrors, the silver screen? That's what matters to the people he's afraid will judge him (parents, prospective employers).

He better've learned something - not to get blitzed at all or at least on camera/trust producers/slur Kazakhs, whathaveyou. Elaborate, memorize, recite with a self-depricating laugh.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:03 PM on October 10, 2006 anyone else dying to know what was said? Because I am.

As for advice, people who learn to laugh at themselves early and often seem to be happiest. I would say the kid should laugh at himself, point out how drunk he was, and all the things that 'Borat' said (and maybe cut?) to get the drunks to an ass of themselves.
posted by HighTechUnderpants at 3:05 PM on October 10, 2006

Perhaps my point was unclear (and just seemed like a gumpy 80 year old type of random thing to say). So I'll be clear:

I have heard of Borat before. I was unaware that there was a movie made. Looking over the IMDB page, it seems that it's already out, based on the number of reviews. Therefore I suspect that this isn't exactly a "#1 at the box office" type of movie. Even if it was, not everyone on Earth will see the movie. Even those who see the movie will likely forget the bit parts after a couple of days.

All this just means that his friend is decidedly NOT famous. Imagine turning it around. Suppose his friend desperately wanted to be famous. He tries and tries, and finally lands a roll as a drunk guy in the Borat movie. Has he succeeded?
posted by Humanzee at 3:37 PM on October 10, 2006 [1 favorite]

Most people seem to think the majority of people involved are actors, so he's probably safe in that respect. The other, obvious, thing for him to do is deny that it's him. "Yeah, it drives me crazy cause the guy looks just like me. I keep having to tell folks that it's not."
posted by Vaska at 3:42 PM on October 10, 2006

This'll probably be one of those things that he'll feel really really stupid about for maybe 6 months or so, and then realize that actually, no, it's kinda awesome, and he'll end up loving to tell the story. You probably won't be able to get him to shut up about it next year.

take it from the guy who urinated on his friend while sleepwalking.
posted by fishfucker at 3:43 PM on October 10, 2006 [3 favorites]

Eh, I stupidly checked facts AFTER I posted. The movie's not out yet. I still suspect that your friend will fail to become a star based on this movie though.

And as Vaska points out, there's tons of deniability too. Another line is "I just said what the script said to say".
posted by Humanzee at 3:45 PM on October 10, 2006

If this Newsweek article is to be believed, it may be easy for your friend to find a lawyer to represent him.

For everyone else, please read everything you sign, for chrissakes.
posted by trevyn at 3:48 PM on October 10, 2006

"I just said what the script said to say".

this is EXACTLY what he should say if ever asked about it ... if he's not ever asked, he should keep his mouth shut
posted by pyramid termite at 3:50 PM on October 10, 2006

Poor guy. But--unless there was some sort of criminal coercion or physical force, he got himself drunk. And drunkenness may explain, but it doesn't excuse. Maybe that realization will help him avoid situations in the future.

Being drunk can make you the world's bitch. You feel invincible, you're actually pathetic. Once I realized that, binge drinking for fun lost its appeal.

I saw the release form for a reality show once: anybody who signs away all that stuff is reckless.

He probably won't learn jack, though. fishfucker has it.

Although the "it was totally scripted, they paid me" line is amusing--they took your friend's credibility, he can hurt theirs.
posted by Phred182 at 4:00 PM on October 10, 2006 [1 favorite]

"...avoid such situations in the future."
posted by Phred182 at 4:01 PM on October 10, 2006

Maybe Mel should use that line. "Seriously guys, I was just following the script. It said 'sugartits!' Seriously!"
posted by c:\awesome at 4:07 PM on October 10, 2006

Better a drunken ass in a fake documentary than a sober ass in a real documentary.
posted by furtive at 4:14 PM on October 10, 2006

In order to help we must know what he said.
posted by Jairus at 4:26 PM on October 10, 2006

Based on trevyn's article, might this be an accurate guess as to what was said?:

"Late in the film, a trio of fraternity brothers from the Chi Psi house at the University of South Carolina pick up a hitchhiking Borat, share a few beers with him, offer their commentary on sexual politics and generally do America not-so-proud. (The fraternity's national chapter did not follow up on a request to locate the young men.)"

Just a guess...
posted by evadery at 4:38 PM on October 10, 2006

It sounds like they tricked him into signing the contract. Don't quote me on this, but I think you do have to specifically agree to appear in a movie or TV show (unless it's some sort of public forum of course). And a contract isn't binding on you if you're duped into it. But--sounds like it's too late to actually get him out of the movie now, so he should laugh it off and, as qbxk and BorgLove said--he got taken by a pro. He shouldn't feel too bad.

PS: Punkbitch, Humanzee: To some extent, Borat relies on not everyone being in the know--I am frequently astonished that politicians don't know who Borat is before agreeing to interview with him, or at least have anyone in their service who might advise them. Same thing for Stephen Colbert, etc.
posted by ubu at 4:49 PM on October 10, 2006

I vote for telling people it was scripted and he wasn't really drunk. Maybe prefacing it with "I'm not supposed to tell anyone this because I signed a confidentiality agreement, but..." would help sell the story.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:51 PM on October 10, 2006

Don't have tell people he wasn't drunk. It's very difficult to act drunk if you're not, just say that he was drunk and he was given direction on what to say before hand, and got too into it. He could also lie about the amount of money given.
posted by delmoi at 5:00 PM on October 10, 2006

(embarrassing, I guess) data point. Prior to this thread, I had never heard of Borat. Literally: never heard. Neither had my wife. We went to wikipedia to try to figure what what all you hep cats were talking about. Apparently it's some character from "Da Ali G" show -- which is a show I've vaguely heard of, but I don't really know what it's about, and I've never seen it.
posted by grumblebee at 5:12 PM on October 10, 2006

Grumblebee: don't go signing any contracts with Khazakhstani documentarians.
posted by ubu at 5:16 PM on October 10, 2006

I don't think lying or weaseling will really help much, and in fact may give people greater incentive to keep ripping him on it. I would say the best thing to do is laugh it off and/or play up to it with friends. If anyone is actually offended (bearing in mind those sorts may not even see the film), just explain he was drunk and coerced by a master of deception, and he's very sorry and so on; standard apologies as appropriate.

Aside from that, various cliches will work a treat: it will blow over, most people will forget or cease caring within a few months, life is full of stupid shit, shit happens, live and learn. In short, his life isn't ruined unless he ruins it worrying.

Most times I've gotten embarresed and anxious over something it's turned into nothing faster than I'd thought possible. This is probably even more true at uni, where people are doing stupid shit left right and center.

Also, what fishfucker said. I've heard far more super-embarresing stories told proudly by the embarresed party, than in a malicious way by others.
posted by MetaMonkey at 5:40 PM on October 10, 2006

Lie. Have him say "You know they pay us to say this stuff. 90% of Ali G is fake. Dont be naive."
posted by damn dirty ape at 5:55 PM on October 10, 2006

anyone who gets drunk in a film can't be a bad guy, laugh at it and don't dwell on it.
posted by randomizer at 6:00 PM on October 10, 2006

So he's not arguing that he got drunk and said stupid things knowing they were going to be filmed, right? He just wants advice on how to get over the consequences?

Chalk it up to youthful indiscretion. Call it a learning experience. Take the long view. Don't tell your family about the movie. Say it was somebody else who looks a lot like him. Never do it again?
posted by Hildago at 6:07 PM on October 10, 2006

No one's going to care. People are stupid when drunk.

Quoth Samuel Johnson "Nothing odd will do long."
posted by oxford blue at 6:25 PM on October 10, 2006

really, i think only Lawrence Wenngrodd can answer this question. . .
posted by punkbitch at 6:25 PM on October 10, 2006

Response by poster: evadery has it- he's one of the frat guys. he wasn't the big guy or the guy with the dark hair. from what he remembers, they said some pretty awful things (slavery should be brought back, women are whores) and he's going to look bad just for being on the bus with them.
for those of you who saw it- were they identified in any way? i know they've been identified in some reviews, but i was curious if they were identified in the movie itself.

hidalgo- he's not looking for legal action, as far as i know. he just wants to know how to deal with the aftermath.

i passed this thread on to him, and i think it has cheered him up. thanks for all of your help!

(did i mention this was my first mefi question?)
posted by kidsleepy at 6:48 PM on October 10, 2006

Yes, he is identified by first name only. Borat went around and made sure he had everyone's name right. There was an Anthony in there somewhere...I can't remember the other guys' names.
He said some things, but nothing to lose sleep over. It was all in good fun and anyone who is easily offended and so goddamn uptight shouldn't go see the movie anyway.
posted by nineRED at 7:00 PM on October 10, 2006

Did they use his name? Maybe he can dye his hair, cut it differently, change his name (use his middle name as his first name or his mom's maiden name as his last name), get rid of his accent and move to a different part of the country. That's what I would do.
posted by onepapertiger at 7:27 PM on October 10, 2006 [1 favorite]

It is just a movie. It will come out. It will go to DVD. And no one will remember it next year.

No. This will be a cult classic.
posted by ryanissuper at 7:32 PM on October 10, 2006

At the worst, you might have trouble getting a job working with kids or being taken seriously as a politician. Your life is not ruined; don't drop out of college; consider this is your 15 minutes of fame; there is no such thing as bad publicity.
posted by enfa at 9:12 PM on October 10, 2006

Best answer: John doesn't need to be terrified that people will think he's an awful human being. He should work on accepting that some large number of strangers, and small number of acquaintances, will think (correctly) that he has poor judgement or can say offensive things when he's drunk.

He needs to first make sure everyone he cares about is aware of exactly what he said, the context he said it in, and his true feelings on the topics being discussed. He then needs to proactively contact the appropriate campus authorities to let them know of the incident, along with the fact that he's remorseful -- don't let them make him a scapegoat for any brouhaha that pops up.

If he wants to go the extra mile, he should send a succinct, contrite letter of explanation and apology to the capmus newspaper, or ask for space in the paper to write, and acknowledge that he'll get some deserved grief.
posted by anildash at 12:32 AM on October 11, 2006

Best answer: well..

...Borat's troll methodology is about giving people a space where they feel permitted and empowered to express things they normally wouldn't. He doesn't put racist, xenophobic and sexist words in people's mouths (although he does often say them first).

That said, Baron-Cohen and his producers do their best to lower people's inhibitions, and they often use scurrilous tactics (such as getting people drunk) to do it. What's said is owned by the sayer, not by Borat, although the sayer (or sitter-by-the-sayers) is not the only one responsible.

To minimise damage to his own reputation, I think your friend should own up to his appearance in the video. His narrative about it should reflect his own complicity (apologetically), but it should also condemn Baron-Cohen's tactics. If the video has caused him to think about his own prejudices, he should talk about his thinking and learning about that.

Politically, Baron-Cohen's work is often laudable, because it rips away the veneer of political correctness that covers the disgusting views held by many people. However, it probably drives more people to silence than to confrontation with their own beliefs.
posted by By The Grace of God at 6:04 AM on October 11, 2006

It's a comedy movie. Why does he have to tell people he was acting as himself and not in a comedic role? If he spins it right he can get some minor fame from this.
posted by JJ86 at 6:53 AM on October 11, 2006

No one that doesn't already know him is going to ever recognize him from that movie. The people that know him know what kind of person he is.
posted by KAS at 8:08 AM on October 11, 2006 [1 favorite]

Personally, if this was my friend, rather than trying to help him pretend like it all didn't happen and he didn't say horrible things, I'd rather help him realize he did say horrible things. If someone starts talking about enslaving black people when they're drunk (as an example), then perhaps they should take that as a cue to examine why something like that would come out of their mouth when their inhibitions are lowered.
posted by Jairus at 4:39 PM on October 11, 2006 [4 favorites]

He maybe could do this to let people know that he's really a nice guy. I'm sure it'll be instantly effective.

Seriously, it could have been any of us...and those of us who find Borat screamingly funny know it.

Feel a bit sheepish maybe, but no need to defenestrate.
posted by mono blanco at 2:34 AM on October 13, 2006

I can't believe the guy got drunk after signing papers agreeing to be filmed.

This is also totally reminiscent of the Mel Gibson Jew rant. Like Jairus said, nobody really says anything they don't mean when they're drunk. Quite the opposite. In this guy's case, maybe he should look at his choice of friends/frat brothers too. Presumably if he said anything he doesn't really believe, it was in order to fit in with his companions.
posted by Tuffy at 1:00 PM on October 18, 2006 [1 favorite]

Hm, I would be very interested to get in touch with this guy, maybe for an interview? If kidsleepy could hook this up, I'd be very grateful.
posted by zerolives at 6:25 PM on November 2, 2006

How can I help convince him it's not the end of the world?

Tell him that the public's interest in non-celebrities is extremely short. A week after the movie comes out, they'll move on to the next person experiencing his Warhol 15.

I had an experience like this, offending 1.2 billion Catholics last year. My weblog was one of the 10 fastest growing on the web. Half a million hits in two days. I got several thousand weblog comments and e-mails, including six sexual solicitations (five straight, one gay).

Two days later, a woman fell on the ice singing the National Anthem at a hockey game and sucked up all my fame oxygen.
posted by rcade at 5:08 AM on November 3, 2006 [2 favorites]

Just saw the movie, and I'll come right out and say it: he and his two friends looked like total cap-on-backwards simple-minded jackasses. Hopefully, he'll learn a lesson from this. Prolly not.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 9:47 PM on November 3, 2006

I remembered this thread because two reviews I've read in the UK national press have specifically mentioned incidents in the film involving frat boys and that these are amongst the most objectionable/funny. The Observer thinks that the frat boys are so bad as to doubt that they could be real, so maybe the suggestion that they pretend they were acting is a good one.
What have your friends experiences been so far? I notice Borat headed the US film chart on release (and is likely to have done the same in the UK) so any hope that no-one will see this film seems optimistic.

One woman claims she lost her job after an incident with Borat.
posted by biffa at 6:37 AM on November 6, 2006

I saw the movie and that part was horrible. Your friend really put himself in that situation and can try and blame it on someone else getting him drunk but it's going to sound contrived. I recommend he just apologize to anyone who brings it up to him and move on, there's nothing that can be done and any story he tries to tell will only futher embarrass him since i'm sure that he wasn't completely innocent.

The movie is funny, but it's more thought provoking then anything, reminding us that some people are still hard pressed into their misguided beliefs.
posted by Derek at 6:01 PM on November 6, 2006

I think trying to claim he was in on the joke will simply make him look more pathetic. Owning up to it with humility and admitting what he said was stupid and wrong is going to get him further than anything.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:04 PM on November 6, 2006

Lying is always a bad idea. If I was your friend, I'd come up with a proper PR-isque script to explain things from his point of view, perhaps even put up a website or something for anonymous viewers explaining what his 'real' views are, and why Borat the movie is an unfair depiction of reality.
posted by the cydonian at 7:09 PM on November 6, 2006

I suspect that this isn't exactly a "#1 at the box office" type of movie

Well, it's the day after opening weekend, and Borat is #1 at the box office. I saw it last night, and your friend and his RV pals did come across like almost moronically stupid drunks (I think your pal is the one who also went off about how the minorities run the country now, like Jews, etc). That said, it's pretty obvious to anyone with a brain that Cohen's methodology was pretty suspect, and getting them drunk and probably being the first to seed the conversation with anti-semitic and mysogynist remarks was a set-up. I left thinking it revealed something's not quite right with your friend, but also that just about anyone could be dosed with liquor and led into embarrassingly hurtful statements.

In the end, I'm sure he could write something like this from one of the feminists who felt equally duped (just linked in the blue), and get it published, and maybe even make some money. But he should probably be apologetic while he does it.
posted by mediareport at 7:29 PM on November 6, 2006

(This is old, but more relevant then ever now that the movie is getting crazy word of mouth and a ton of good reviews.)

I saw the movie over the weekend, and your friend (is it this guy?) basically fulfilled the worst stereotype of frat guys everywhere. I think claiming it was staged or he was acting won't work - its pretty clear the the three guys are really wasted and just saying a lot of stupid things they wouldn't say if out in public and sober. There were a lot of people who came out of that movie actually looking good - they handle a jackass politely and with restraint and got some free publicity (thinking of the etiquette group and the comedy coach in particular). Your friend is not one of those people.

So your friend could either just wait for it to blow over, or he could own up to it in a big way. Start a blog (is available?) with a full explanation of what happened. The biggest thing would be admitting the things he said were stupid and wrong, apologizing, and laying out some positive things steps he is taking to work on his issues. One idea would be to start working with the local gay-straight alliance club and also writing letters to the campus & local newspaper to head-off the inevitable gossip. Maybe work with his frat to do some charity work, as I'm sure his frat could use some positive coverage after getting coverage on this. Obviously, this won't work if he just sees his statements as "the booze talking" and not a real problem, or if he just comes off as fake.

He could then do a video on youtube/myspace/google/etc to spread the word. All he would need is one mention in a big name blog or paper for his blog to spread like crazy, with all the talk Borat is going to get in the next week. Follow up with stories showing the shady release form that the film used, and the ethics of putting someone on camera and taking advantage of the power that a full camera-crew has. There are definitely some stories that could be explored there, and a warning for anyone who has ever had a waiver shoved in their face or thought of appearing on a reality tv show.

He could hope that people forget about this, but with the likely cult status this movie will get on DVD I wouldn't bet on it. The best he could do is really learn from it and use the power of the web to at least ensure that when someone sees his name or his frat come up with the Borat story on google, they see his response and his side of the story as the next result. If he doesn't respond, he better pray his full name doesn't come out in the next LA Times article on the movie...
posted by rsanheim at 10:42 PM on November 6, 2006

I saw it and people I was with afterwards thought the frat guys came off the worst of everyone, with the possible exception of the rodeo guy, but since he was obviously a crazy old redneck it was much less shocking to hear he hates gays and muslims.

Some of the people I saw the movie with were truly shocked and disgusted by the statements of the frat guys. Having known people like that, I was less surprised.
posted by cell divide at 11:02 AM on November 7, 2006

rather than start a blog or work with the local LGBA group, your friend could take the easy road and just grow a beard or change his hairstyle. people who don't personally know him probably won't match his face to the movie. that way he can walk down the street w/o always worrying if people are looking at him.

i mean, being humiliated on the big screen is probably not going to change the way he feels about these things. :-/
posted by cgs at 1:33 PM on November 7, 2006

Maybe this is a stupid question, but are you sure that your friend isn't just a bad person? In my experience people who do things drunk that they don't do sober are just in less control of themselves. As such, if he said racist or misogynistic things when he was drunk it seems to me that he probably believes them, but is just usually better at hiding them. A better question to ask might be how can your friend become a better person, not how can he better convince people that he is not the person he was seen to be.
posted by UESMark at 1:39 PM on November 7, 2006 [3 favorites]

If I were your friend I would grow a moustache and move to Mexico. Although, if I were your friend I would also hate Mexicans. So he's sort of in a bind there. People should be embarrassed publicly in this way for saying things like what your friend said more often.
posted by mike_bling at 2:55 PM on November 7, 2006 [2 favorites]

looks like this sorta thing is getting some press.

here's the bit that talks about our guy...the links are

The fraternity brothers. University of South Carolina student and Chi Psi brother David Corcoran seems to be the only member of the trio speaking on the record so far. Corcoran talks to FHMM: "My first thought was, 'What if my mom finds out?'" And the other brothers? "Of the two others who joined Corcoran on the embarrassing romp, one still is a brother in Chi Psi, and the other has left the university," Chi Psi Alpha Beta chapter president Todd Bailey tells The State. Bailey says he has no desire to see the movie.

sorry, kidsleepy, looks like sauron's eye is focusing on your friend...
posted by cgs at 2:55 PM on November 7, 2006

Response by poster: hey everyone, just wanted to give you an update on all of this mess. my friend is the one who said "bitches and ho's" not the one who said "minorities rule the country, i wish we still had slaves, and don't ever let a woman make you who you are." after some thought, he's not regretting doing the fhm article.

he has gotten recognized once so far. a girl tried to hook up with him at a bar, but when she suggested he ditch his "nerdy friend" he told her to take a hike. it was very "lieutenant dan" of him. everyone else who recognized him already knew him, and knew what he was really like.

he really is a good guy. i wouldn't be friends with him otherwise. the other two guys are NOT my friends, because they say that kind of stuff all the time. their frat is not like that as a whole- one of the reasons i think they got picked to be in it was because they were to worst of the bunch.

he seems to be doing okay. since he transfered schools last semester (not b/c of this) he's not feeling too much of a blow. the fraternity is doing damage control, and is really stepping up their philanthropy (charity work) this year. so maybe this is a good thing- it got the boys off their butts and doing something positive. not to mention they are watching what they say. they realize that what some people may see as a joke other people are going to take seriously.
posted by kidsleepy at 9:11 AM on November 8, 2006 [1 favorite]

I agree that the frat guys came across worst of all in the movie, so bad that I assumed that they were actors. However, blaming their statements on being drunk is no excuse. Lots of people, myself included, get very drunk without spouting off racist and sexist nonsense. Those that do are merely allowing their true prejudices to surface, Mel Gibson style. I also don't think your friend is going to gain much sympathy by crying "but Borat tricked me!"
Hopefully, he can take it as a wake up call and learning lesson and try not act like a stereotypical frat boy douchebag, lest people think he truly is one. At least he should stop hanging around ones that are worse than he is. I realize that in some circles it is seen as cool and funny to be un-PC, and then the whole herd mentality/peer pressure factors in, but really, what a bunch of assholes. These sort of guys are everywhere on American college campuses and I'm glad Borat made them look like fools. The best thing your friend can do is examine his own prejudices, apologize, try to be a better person in the future, and move on with his life.
posted by emd3737 at 5:51 AM on November 9, 2006 [1 favorite]

Did your friend file this lawsuit?
posted by dcjd at 7:16 PM on November 9, 2006

I think anyone could find themselves in a similar situation where something they did was taken out of context and blown up in to a big embarrassing mess.

It seems that your friend is the type of person who wrings his hands and bites his nails over such things. I can't blame him. I have a streak of that myself and it's hard to keep under control. There's a part of me that flogs myself for all the embarrassing things I've ever done. I spend way, way too much time worrying about all that shit and have, cumulatively, truly repressed myself over much of it.

The upshot here is that not everyone would react so. Without knowing the details (and is sounds like he got trapped) I'd say he has nothing to worry about from people who already know him. And unless he's running for office or something, who cares about those who don't know him?

How you can help him: just remind him that not everyone would react as he has. Some folks would laugh, slap their leg, and not give a shit. Others would sue the production company. Some would write a famous blog entry about the experience. Others would embrace their brief fame and alter who they were to match the public image they projected.

Remind him which type of person he is. Give him perspective on his own personal reaction to this. Remind him it's all in good fun.

If you want, empower him to publish online about how the EDITING IS EVERYTHING in Sacha Baron Cohen's pieces. Get him to tell his story about being drunken and digned into making an ass out of himself and raise some negative publicity for Cohen. It's obvious to me, as a longtime fan, that some subjects are manipulated. I'm sure your friend will meet with receptive ears. I mean, everyone I've ever watched Ali G with has said, "what the hell, is this real?"
posted by scarabic at 8:40 PM on November 9, 2006

What a bunch of losers
posted by nineRED at 4:17 AM on November 10, 2006

Like everyone in a movie of fiction, your friend should feel consoled by the notion that what he did was also fiction -- he played a character in the movie and no more. He no more meant what he said than Cohen means what he says about women having smaller brains as the character Borat.
posted by luckypozzo at 8:13 AM on November 10, 2006

It is too bad that your friend (and/or his buddies) decided to file suit instead of just letting it blow over.

I sincerely hope that both parties involved in the suit are immortalized on the internet, with their real names, full quotes, and photos attached, for easy googling.

Their lawsuit is more awful than a dog shit chimichanga.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 8:25 AM on November 10, 2006 [2 favorites]

You're just saying that because you're biased against all Mexican food that's not encased in a folded tortilla shell.
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 8:29 AM on November 10, 2006

I doubt the lawsuit is going to help him any.
posted by damn dirty ape at 8:44 AM on November 10, 2006

I'm sorry to say this but your friend is majorly borked. Especially if he's the guy who said "You should f*ck women and never, ever call them again..." as that is the point in the film where the women sitting around me in theater (and some of them were quite comely) agreed in unison through tears of laughter (and I'm pretty sure they were laughing at him) that "he would never get laid again".

Yikes. Indeed.

Also add the fact that the film was the top grossing film of the weekend (on a limited release) and that it's almost certain to be a hugely successful worldwide release and be seen by billions of people, some who undoubtedly will be fine comely women with protective brothers. If that wasn't enough, it'll be one of those cult DVD's, much like Spinal Tap or the utterly brillant Withnail & I, that's watched over and over, with lines that become popular mantras and WHASSUPS! of the day in offices and assembly lines and laboratories and faculty and company board rooms from coast to coast and sea to shining sea.

So. With all this in mind, I would suggest your friend do what most people do when they make complete asses of themselves in front of the public and that is to get an agent and a publicist, make TV and Film appearances negotiate a talk show and/or do a Pr0n film and be proud to embody the epitomy, the perfect paragon, the ever loving Mona LIsa of racist, misogynist white frat boy stupidity.

Then he can run for President.
posted by Skygazer at 8:59 AM on November 10, 2006 [1 favorite]

Perhaps he should announce that he's entering rehab and disappear for 90 days?
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 9:11 AM on November 10, 2006

Wonder if your friend is one of these two guys who have now sued the production.
posted by IndigoSkye at 10:56 AM on November 10, 2006

Skygazer, for the win!
posted by PROD_TPSL at 5:30 PM on November 10, 2006

I absolutely, positively cannot believe the number of people calling for this guy to lie. That would only make him more pathetic. He needs to develop a sense of humor about himself, allow that he was duped, and allow that it was he who said a bunch of moronic stuff. This situation will blow over and that's that. Nothing more to be done. Finito.

And as for the wankers who sued: let us remember you more, then.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:56 PM on November 10, 2006

luckypozzo, 11:13AM:
Like everyone in a movie of fiction, your friend should feel consoled by the notion that what he did was also fiction -- he played a character in the movie and no more. He no more meant what he said than Cohen means what he says about women having smaller brains as the character Borat.

Ehmm, not sure about that one. Surely the character is fiction but the people being duped by him? I think this thread itself demonstrates: definitely not fiction.
posted by jckll at 1:34 PM on November 11, 2006

Response by poster: ***UPDATE***

He's NOT one of the guys suing. He's smarter than that.

He got an offer to do a tell-all interview with Rolling Stone, and he's considering it. The two guys suing want him not to talk to the media, and he doesn't want to piss them off. However, he does want his side of the story to be told. He wants to find some way of tactfully not commenting on the lawsuit, aside from saying "I didn't see any benefit in participating in it, so I'm not."

Any tips on how he should handle the interview?
posted by kidsleepy at 2:07 PM on November 12, 2006

I came here to read up on this post - I remember reading it back in October and wanted to see if anything had developed since the movie was released, especially since I heard that there were frat boys suing Cohen.

Kidsleepy, since this is a pretty old thread and is probably getting limited traffic, you may want to post that as a new question. I'd be interested in people's advice.
posted by MarkLark at 10:24 AM on November 13, 2006

If he does the Rolling Stone interview, he needs to be honest enough with himself to do some heavy-duty apologizing to kick it off. He said some disgusting and ridiculous things, and I'm sorry, but being drunk never excuses that kind of behavior.

He and his pals look like dirtbags, and it's only because of things that came out of their own mouths. So apologies need to top his list (and they need to be included at the very beginning of the article--he should make this a condition of participation).
posted by LGCNo6 at 12:35 AM on November 15, 2006

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