The Sacha Baron Cohen ‘Who is America?’ bit that was too disturbing to air
Sacha Baron Cohen’s hit Showtime series “Who is America?” made headlines for duping politicians and public figures into partaking in cringeworthy, humiliating interviews, but the comedian says one interview was so troubling, it was sent to the FBI and never aired.
In an interview with Deadline, Baron Cohen said one of his characters, “Gio Monaldo,” went to Las Vegas to interview a hotel concierge at the height of the Harvey Weinstein sexual misconduct scandal to figure out how the disgraced movie-mogul got away with such behavior.
“During the interview, I revealed that basically Gio has molested an eight-year-old boy. Now, mind you, this is extreme comedy and we thought that the guy would leave the room,” Baron Cohen said, adding: “Instead, this concierge stays in the room…this guy starts advising Gio how to get rid of this issue.”
“We even at one point talk about murdering the boy, and the concierge is just saying, ‘Well, listen, I’m really sorry. In this country, we can’t just drown the boy. This is America we don’t do that.’ And then, in the end, he puts me in touch with a lawyer who can silence the boy.”
As the interview went on, Baron Cohen says “Gio” asked the concierge to help him with finding an underage boy for a date that evening.
According to Baron Cohen, the concierge replied, “Yeah, I can put you in touch with somebody who can get you some boys like that.”
It was not made clear which hotel the concierge worked at.
The 47-year-old comedian said the concierge’s claims were so appalling to him and his Showtime staff that they immediately handed the video over to authorities at the FBI and decided against using the footage in the show.
On debating whether or not to air the footage, Baron Cohen said: “It was too dark and wrong. In a journalistic way it was fascinating, but it was so extreme and so dark that it was too unsettling for the audience.”
Baron Cohen says the FBI decided not to pursue the pedophilia ring claims in the end.
Earlier this year, Baron Cohen duped former GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore into coming on the show and confronted him with a “pedophile detecting machine.”