Who Is America? Showtime defends 'sick' Sacha Baron Cohen from Sarah Palin criticism

Jacob Stolworthy

Showtime - the network airing new Sacha Baron Cohen series Who Is America? - has leapt to the defence of the funnyman following backlash from its political subjects.

The Borat star has riled up many figures whom he duped into appearing on the show, namely Sarah Palin who branded the comedian as “exploitive and sick” claiming he posed as a wounded US veteran named Wayne Ruddick Jr., Ph.D. to get an interview for the series.

Showtime has fought back against Palin's comments with a statement which read: “There has been widespread misinformation over the past week about the character of Billy Wayne Ruddick Jr., Ph.D., performed by Sacha Baron Cohen on the SHOWTIME comedy series WHO IS AMERICA? Baron Cohen did not present himself as a disabled veteran, and viewers nationwide who watched the premiere on Sunday can now attest to that.”

It continued, referencing the debut episode's moment in which Cohen took aim at Bernie Sanders: “In Sunday's episode, during an interview with Senator Bernie Sanders, Baron Cohen in character as Dr. Ruddick was asked by the Senator if he is disabled, and he stated that he is not and uses a mobility scooter to conserve his energy. In addition, Baron Cohen never presented himself as a veteran of the U.S. military to former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin during the booking process or during the filming of her interview, and contrary to her claims he did not appear in a wheelchair.

“In both the interview with Governor Palin and the interview with Senator Sanders, he did not wear military apparel of any kind.”

In summary, Showtime - as well as Ruddick Jr himself - disputes everything Palin said regarding her involvement in the series.

One of the episode's most controversial moments sees Republican Congressmen, including Joe Wilson, endorse the idea of training up toddlers as young as three in gun usage.

The series airs in the UK on Channel 4