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Sacha Baron Cohen sued $110m over 'terrorist' label

Category: Entertainment

Published: 10th Dec 2009 09:38:33

Comedian Sacha Baron Cohen is facing a $110m (£67.5m) libel action from a Palestinian man who says the film Bruno wrongly branded him a terrorist.

Shopkeeper Ayman Abu Aita was interviewed for the 2009 comedy and captioned as a member of militant group al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade.

He is also suing US talk show host David Letterman after he and Cohen discussed meeting a "terrorist".

Film financers Universal Studios and Letterman's lawyers have not commented.

'Utterly false'

In legal papers filed in Washington DC, Bethlehem businessman Mr Abu Aita's lawyer said he was a Christian and "a peace-loving person who abhors violence".

He added that before the film he "enjoyed a good reputation for honesty and a peaceable nature" in the community, which had been compromised.

Any involvement in militant activities and organisations were "utterly false and untrue", his lawyer stated.

He added that Mr Abu Aita was never given a release form to sign ahead of his appearance in the film, and added that Baron Cohen had "made millions" through it.

In his Letterman appearance, the star said he had feared for his safety when he interviewed Mr Abu Aita at a secret location of his choosing.

Mr Abu Aita claims that the meeting took place at a hotel chosen by the film's production staff.

The excerpt of the film was then shown on the popular US TV show.

A legal hearing about Mr Abu Aita's complaint is expected to be heard next month.

Baron Cohen faced a number of legal actions over his previous film, the 2006 comedy Borat, from people who felt they were misrepresented or were not made aware of the film's satirical nature.

A number of cases in the US were dismissed last year.

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BBC News, 2009. Sacha Baron Cohen sued $110m over 'terrorist' label [Online] (Updated 10th Dec 2009)
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