Talking of grabs… there is one moment in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm that many women will recognise as a moment of truth.
I’m talking about the already notorious scene involving the former New York mayor turned Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Guiliani. The 76-year-old believes he is being interviewed by Tutar for a right wing TV station. The scene ends with him lying back on a bed in a hotel suite, with his hand down his trousers as the young woman – who’s lower back (being generous) he has just patted – stands nearby. Baron Cohen’s entrance into the suite stops anything else from taking place.
It doesn’t look good for Guiliani, who has responded to the footage by tweeting: “I was tucking in my shirt after taking off the recording equipment. At no time, before or after the interview was I ever inappropriate. If Sacha Baron Cohen implies otherwise he is a stone-cold liar”.
“If the president’s lawyer found what he did there appropriate behavior, then heaven knows what he’s done with other female journalists in hotel rooms,” replied Baron Cohen. “I just urge everyone to watch the movie. It is what it is. He did what he did. And make your own mind up. It was pretty clear to us.”
Of course, Baron Cohen wants everyone to watch the movie – this sort of he-said/ he-said is great publicity. Of course, the scene has been edited. And, of course, it was carefully planned and curated to be a ‘gotcha’ of the type Borat fans have come to expect.
In an article over the weekend, my colleague Robbie Collin explained why he thinks the Guiliani scene isn’t what it looks like: “During their “interview” – which is ostensibly about the US’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic – the two drink what looks like bourbon, while she repeatedly touches Giuliani’s knee flirtatiously. As a stooge, he’s being primed. But as an audience, so are we. The sense that something awful is about to happen is already rolling off the screen like a toxic fog,” he wrote.