Chalk up another glorious victory for the man from Kazakhstan.
A New York judge has thrown out a defamation lawsuit brought by a New York businessman who was videotaped running away from Sacha Baron Cohen's alter ego in his 2006 blockbuster hit comedy, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.
U.S. District Court Judge Loretta Preska rejected arguments filed by an attorney for financial analyst Jeffrey Lemerond that his client's reputation was trashed by a scene in the movie showing the phony reporter chasing Lemerond down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue. Lemerond's lawyer claimed filmmakers used the man's likeness without consent.
The moment scored laughs with theatergoers as the Dartmouth grad hightails it from Borat, yelling "Go away!" as Cohen's character approaches strangers on the street and attempts to hug and high-five them.
Preska ruled that the scene in question was "newsworthy" and therefore not defamatory—despite utilizing a rather crude brand of humor—because it sought to provide ironic commentary on society.
Lemerond had been seeking unspecified punitive damages for emotional trauma, claiming he suffered "public ridicule, degradation and humiliation" from being made an unwitting participant.
Lawyers for both the plaintiff and 20th Century Fox, which distributed Borat, were unavailable for comment.
This is the latest courtroom victory for Cohen and his crackpot character.
Two University of South Carolina fraternity brothers featured in the Oscar-nominated flick unsuccessfully sued Fox for fraud. Their suit was thrown out by a judge on free-speech grounds, as were complaints filed by two Romanian villagers and an Alabama etiquette coach who also appeared in Borat and sought a share of its $260 million worldwide gross.
But Cohen had better keep his legal eagles on retainer.
The comedian is wrapping up filming on his next top-secret mockumentary, Bruno, in which he impersonates an openly gay Austrian fashion journalist with a habit of asking his interview subjects overtly sexual questions.
In fact, Cohen made headlines in Kansas this week when, in the guise of Bruno, he got booted out of the Wichita airport after stripping down to a pair of hot pants and dancing in the lobby.
According to Cinematical, the British funnyman also put one over on Ben Affleck, who agreed to an interview with a "very famous openly gay fashion journalist" and ended up confessing that the meeting was "the weirdest sit-down he has ever had with a reporter."