In the days leading up to the premiere of Sacha Baron Cohen’s new Showtime series, Who is America?, more and more of his political targets have been revealed. We know he got to former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, accused child molester Roy Moore, and former congressman/current conservative radio host Joe Walsh. Now, another member of the Right Wing Scum Club has come forward to call Cohen out for duping him: former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Arpaio, who’s currently 20 points behind Democrat Krysten Sinema in the Arizona Senate race, was once known as America’s Toughest Sheriff. “Tough”, of course, translated to the US Department of Justice finding his office had the worst pattern of racial profiling in history, failing to investigate sex crimes, keeping prisoners in inhumane tent cities, faking an assassination attempt and wrongfully keeping the 18-year-old stooge awaiting trial in jail for four years as a publicity stunt to increase his re-election profile, and being found guilty of criminal contempt — a crime for which President Trump pardoned him. Ya know, good ol’ fashioned police work.
In an interview with Breitbart News, Arpaio said he too was duped by Cohen, who posed as a famous Finnish comedian for their interview. Arpaio said he met with a film crew in Los Angeles on October 11th, ready to sit down with a purported Trump supporter. Cohen then asked the former law enforcement officer questions about his habit of stopping cars of suspected illegal immigrants (ie, anyone who looked Hispanic), gun laws, and of course POTUS. “I was very careful in responding to controversial issues,” Arpaio said. “Profiling. Illegal immigration. They were hitting me with all of that.”
However, when Cohen’s Finnish character started dropping words like “blowjob,” “handjob,” and “golden shower,” Arpaio became suspicious. He decided to document the interview, typing up notes. “I felt uncomfortable with some of the words they were using but I had to live through it,” he said. “I am not the type of guy who gets up and walks out. I never walked out in thousands of interviews. I just take it. I was kind of shocked. But I figured this is Finland and this is a famous comedian.”
Proving that Cohen didn’t just take aim at conservatives for the new series, Ted Koppel has also admitted to being tricked by the comic. Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, the iconic broadcast journalist said he gave an interview with the same wheelchair-bound character who met with Palin, Dr. Billy Wayne Ruddick Jr. Saying he was shooting a show called Age of Reason, “Ruddick Jr.” tried to convince Koppel that Trump’s inaugural crowd was the biggest ever.
“When I disagreed, he showed me a photograph on his laptop of a huge inaugural crowd and a man holding a digital clock on a pole,” Koppel said. “The clock said 11 p.m. My interviewer pointed out that if the crowd was that huge at 11, hours after the actual inauguration, it had to have been the biggest ever.”
But Koppel said the image was taken in broad daylight, so it couldn’t have been 11 at night. “He said maybe it was an eclipse. And I said if it were an eclipse, it would have been dark. And he said maybe it was an eclipse of the moon and the sun eclipsed the moon. I said, ‘Wait a second. The sun is many millions of miles away from the moon,’” Koppel recalled. “At that point, I realized something was really wrong. And that’s when I said, ‘Guys, I don’t want to be rude; you’re guests in my home. But we’re done. Break down and time to leave.’”
Still, Koppel isn’t as sour about the experience as some of the folks Cohen spoke to on the other side of the aisle. “Everybody loves seeing well-known people get duped,” he said. “I relish it too, when it’s done well.” However, he’s not convinced a show like Who is America? is good for the current political climate, either:
“I think there’s enough skepticism to go around about people who actually are reporters, who actually are documentarians. And to undermine whatever tiny little bit of confidence might be left by pulling a stunt like this… Maybe it will make for a good comedy show. I don’t know. But I don’t think it helps the overall atmosphere.”
We’ll find out when Who is America? premieres on Showtime on July 15th at midnight EST.