How Sacha Baron Cohen Is Quietly Pushing Back on Rebel Wilson’s Claims

MEGA/GC Images
MEGA/GC Images

Sacha Baron Cohen has been mostly mum when it comes to the allegations that actress Rebel Wilson revealed in her new memoir Rebel Rising. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t actively pushing back.

As outlined in an email Baron Cohen’s representatives sent to The Daily Beast, his team has meticulously compiled documents, including a call sheet schedule, script page, and anonymous statements from several crew members who worked on the film The Brothers Grimsby, which Baron Cohen and Wilson starred in together. The actor’s reps say the compiled materials “dispute” Wilson’s claim that Baron Cohen asked her to perform a sexual act on him that wasn’t for the film.

Wilson described the incident with Baron Cohen again this week in an interview on Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert podcast. “Obviously it’s not for the movie,” she said, describing the time she claims Baron Cohen asked her to stick a finger in his butt while they worked on Grimsby. “There’s no camera crew, the sound crew, they’re off in a different part of the stadium filming the actual movie. So his buddies had iPhones and were filming the whole thing and I’m just horrified,” she continued. Wilson had previously accused Baron Cohen of trying to stop her book from being released in the first place.

Representatives for Baron Cohen had already released a statement on his behalf, telling The Daily Beast that Wilson’s claims were “demonstrably false” and promising “extensive detailed evidence, including contemporaneous documents, film footage, and eyewitness accounts from those present before, during and after the production of The Brothers Grimsby” that would contradict them. Baron Cohen himself, as well as his wife (and Grimsby co-star) Isla Fisher, have not shared any direct comments about Wilson’s claims on social media or elsewhere.

Details Emerge in Rebel Wilson’s Claims About ‘A**hole’ Sacha Baron Cohen

That said, Baron Cohen isn’t just sitting on his hands. After all, one has to wonder how much manpower it took to solicit statements from the nine crew members who worked on the movie. Not one crew member has revealed their identity as of yet, even though many of the statements feature language of absolute confidence that Wilson’s account never took place, preceded by qualifiers like, “I was on set every day of production, watching scenes with Rebel.”

Some of the crew members who made statements say they were present during the iPhone incident, which they say was scripted from the jump with Wilson’s approval. One makeup artist, who chose not to be named, said the scene may have only appeared to not be intended for the film: “To protect the privacy of the actors we had limited crew in the room which is a standard practice in the industry for sensitive scenes.”

Another crew member who was present for the scene said that he could have been mistaken for one of Baron Cohen’s “friends” who was filming what Wilson described as a “degrading” experience, explaining that the crew were tasked with filming the scene with their phones so that it would appear as shaky cell phone footage in the film.

The Daily Beast asked Baron Cohen’s reps for additional comments from those who have chosen to remain anonymous, but did not receive a response.

The scene in question ultimately did not make it into the movie, but a previously unseen clip of it obtained by the Daily Mail shows at least some version of what took place. In response to the site’s release of the footage, Wilson told the Daily Mail that the scene “could not have possibly been for the film as the director Louis Leterrier was not even present.” Leterrier did not respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment.

Wilson added, “What this edited video shows is what I had to do in order to get out of the room, as written in Rebel Rising. Releasing unauthorized and misleading behind the scenes video without my approval is SBC’s latest way of bullying and gaslighting me.”

Team Baron Cohen says the clip proves that Wilson was aware of how the scene would play out and why they were filming it that way. But whether or not the scene was scripted or pre-planned, Wilson has made clear how she felt about it in the moment. So the decision to release supposed “evidence” intended to negate her experience may not have had the exonerating impact that was apparently intended.

Rebel Wilson Sounds Off on Much More Than That One ‘A**hole’ in New Memoir

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