Brow Beat

Roy Moore Is Suing Sacha Baron Cohen for $95 Million

Roy Moore, laughing.
When life hands you an embarrassing appearance on a Sacha Baron Cohen show, make lemonade!
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Roy Moore, the former Alabama senatorial candidate and Ten Commandments aficionado whose campaign imploded amidst allegations that he had a habit of sexually harassing teenage girls—allegations Moore has denied—is suing comedian Sacha Baron Cohen for $95 million for defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and fraud, Variety reports. At issue is Moore’s humiliating appearance on Cohen’s Showtime series This Is America, in a segment in which Cohen, pretending to be an Israeli security expert, demonstrated a “pedophile detector” to Moore, who kept setting it off. Here’s the segment Roy Moore doesn’t want you to see:

The most brilliant part of Sacha Baron Cohen’s work has always been getting people who cannot possibly benefit from appearing on a Sacha Baron Cohen show to sign releases, and Moore’s legal complaint gives some details on how this part of the con worked:

In order to fraudulently induce Judge Moore and Mrs. Moore to travel to Washington D.C., where filming was to and did take place, and where the majority of acts pled herein occurred, on or about February 14, 2018, Defendant Cohen and his agents falsely and fraudulently represented to Plaintiff that Yerushalayim TV—which does not actually exist—was the producer and broadcaster of the show that later appeared on Showtime. In addition, Defendant Cohen and his agents falsely and fraudulently represented that Judge Moore and Mrs. Moore were both being invited to Washington D.C., for Judge Moore to receive an award for his strong support of Israel in commemoration of its 70th anniversary as a nation state. This ceremony, and presentation of this award, Defendant Cohen falsely and fraudulently represented was to occur during the interview.

The results of Cohen’s fraud, according to Moore’s filing, have been utterly disastrous, in the sense that they reminded everyone about the nine separate women who came forward to accuse Moore of sexual misconduct, including one who said he’d sexually assaulted her when she was 14 and he was 32:

As a direct and proximate result of Defendants and their agents’ extreme, outrageous, and malicious defamatory conduct set forth above, Judge Moore has been the subject of widespread ridicule and humiliation and has suffered severe loss of reputation, which in turn also caused him, Mrs. Moore, and his entire family severe emotional distress and pain and financial damage, especially given his status as a prominent conservative and a God fearing person of faith.

Weirdly, Moore didn’t ask for any damages for the part of the segment where Cohen tricked him into saying that Alabama had always been a state known for its dedication to freedom and equality for all its citizens. Still, if Moore thinks his relatively anodyne This Is America segment did $95 million in damage, what on earth is he going to want for this devastating Jimmy Kimmel bit from the night he lost his Senate race?

Showtime responded to news of the lawsuit in a statement, saying, “The press has been sent copies of an alleged complaint, yet to our knowledge SHOWTIME has not been served. With that said, we do not comment on pending litigation.” However this plays out in the courts, one thing is clear: $95 million would be a small price to pay to get Roy Moore out of politics for good.