Sacha Baron Cohen is facing a lawsuit filed by former US senate candidate Roy Moore following a prank on the British comedian’s latest sketch show.
Who is America? Seeks to lampoon the political classes through a bizarre collection of interviews and stunts conducted by Cohen in disguise. One such episode saw Cohen act the role as an Israeli anti-terrorism expert demonstrating a supposed ‘paedophile detector’ which bleeped only when moved within the vicinity of Moore.
A lawsuit filed on Wednesday in Washington accuses Baron Cohen of defaming Moore and says Moore "suffered extreme emotional distress". Moore is now seeking $75m in damages from Baron Cohen as well as the Showtime and CBS Networks which aired the programme.
The lawsuit read: “Defendant Cohen's character falsely and fraudulently introduced a false and fraudulent 'device' supposedly invented by the Israeli Army to detect paedophiles.
"During the segment, Defendant Cohen's 'device' - as part of the false and fraudulent routine - purports to detect judge Moore as a sex offender, thus defaming him."
Moore claims he was duped into appearing on the show by false claims that he was to receive an award for his pro-Israel views.
Baron Cohen has proven himself a dab-hand at fostering controversy, erecting his own 'Mexican wall' in an out-of-home stunt designed to promote the show.