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Sacha Baron-Cohen 's Bruno 'Yes on 8' Antics Caught on Film

Bruno1_2

Video has emerged of "Bruno" actor Sacha Baron Cohen's antics at a Proposition 8 rally at Los Angeles City Hall two days before the election, and (particularly in the after math of Prop 8's passage) it's a fairly charged piece of tape.

Bruno, for those of you who don't know, is Baron-Cohen's fake Austrian news reporter character, on whom he's basing his next movie.

Sacha Baron Cohen, masquerading as Bruno, crashed fashion shows earlier this year in Paris and Milan, caused havoc at a cage fighting event in Arkansas, go-go danced in the middle of a Wichita airport terminal, and duped Ben Affleck as well as a former Israeli spy into doing serious interviews with him, and crashed a "Proposition 8" rally two days before the election where he was photographed. I posted the photos on Monday.

ClipNow, there's video of the actor arriving at the rally, where he is pretending (or at least I hope he is pretending) to be a "Yes on 8" protestor presumably in order to mock them for the film, which is his schtick. A Third Rail Media cameraman begins filming his altercations with other "Yes on 8" protestors as well as with police, and then Sacha Baron-Cohen's crew attempts to stop the cameraman as he tries to get them on tape.

There are plenty of ways to look at this. Are the Bruno people just attempting to protect their intellectual property? And are the captions in the YouTube video an attempt to "get" Cohen for filming without a license in order to capitalize on the rally themselves? Certainly, Third Rail Media was not happy Cohen was there.

Now, whether it's right to take such a highly-charged political and civil rights issue and use it as a foil for a comedy film is another story. Certainly in the wake of Prop 8's passage many won't be laughing.

WATCH the clip, AFTER THE JUMP...

Here's a longer version:

A commenter on the Hot Blog notes: "Just as Bruno is using this march for his motives, a quick glance at third rail media's website tells me that Mike Skiff is just pissed at Sasha and his crew for trying to film without a permit. This third rail group really doesn't sound like they care about prop 8 -- they're just trying to piss on their territory. So yeah, Sasha's comedy might not be that funny anymore, and some people might get offended that he's doing this at the rally (not me), but Skiff was being an ass, outing Bruno like he's so offended at Sasha's antics, when all he cares about is "getting" Sasha. Whatever. Sasha should have quit after Borat, Mike Skiff should get over himself, and enough already jesus christ with prop 8."

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Comments

  1. I've always said Bruno/Borat/Sacha is an epic idiot, and this goes a long way to cement that opinion

    Posted by: Protogenes | Nov 6, 2008 9:51:04 AM


  2. He's obviously mocking the Yes on 8 protesters. He's carrying a sign that says
    "Arschers are for scheissing, not for schtupping."

    But yeh, I don't really have a sense of humor about it today.

    Posted by: crispy | Nov 6, 2008 10:06:54 AM


  3. Sasha/Bruno 'swished' over the line of acceptability some time ago. Mocking this civil rights issue is far from humorous.

    Posted by: Jack Scribe | Nov 6, 2008 10:24:40 AM


  4. A few things

    -I don't understand--so, comedy isn't a valid form of social critique? Even though Cohen consistently creates situations that expose the hypocrisy in ideological (mostly conservative) thinking, you reduce his action here to "schtick" and a "foil for his comedy film".

    -consider the way that south park's satire of political correctness popularized a knee-jerk anti-liberal/progressive sentiment. Cohen makes it fun to watch ideologues self-destruct when they're confronted with their own flawed thinking.

    -Third Rail was interrupting Cohen precisely at the moment where he was being confronted by a "yes on 8" supporter--that is, right when he could have exposed the real yes on 8'er for his idiocy. It's certainly within Third Rail's rights to film, or participate in what was going on, but I don't see how this throws into question Cohen's practice. He's trying to create this situation of conflict where the other side exposes themselves as hateful or just dumb. It's difficult to do that when you've got a reporter creaming himself because he's on to you.

    Posted by: Anon, anon | Nov 6, 2008 10:31:54 AM


  5. Cohen is quite adept at exposing racists, homophobes, etc. for what they are. I think his use of comedy with a message is nothing short of genius. Don't get all pissy with him just because he's the one holding the mirror that reflects their evil bigotry.

    Posted by: JohnInManhattan | Nov 6, 2008 10:37:52 AM


  6. I don't mind 'Bruno' using a Yes On 8 rally to make fun of homophobes. But I am *absolutely* bothered by his crew's chanting 'Yes On 8'. They seem to mean it. If Sacha Baron Cohen does not donate copious amounts of money to some GLBT charity, I think we should all boycott his new movie. Hell, if we want to watch it, we can just steal it online instead of paying at the theater!

    Posted by: peterparker | Nov 6, 2008 10:44:56 AM


  7. Yeeaaahhh, I find it amusing that when I stated that "Bruno" may cause a backlash a few weeks ago on here I was blasted. Interesting that it seems to have come full circle.

    Posted by: CJ | Nov 6, 2008 11:23:33 AM


  8. Lighten up Fagots!

    Posted by: The Queen | Nov 6, 2008 11:36:26 AM


  9. So, loads of people thought he was hilarious when he dressed up as a crazy dumb foreigner to expose right wingers and bigots but now he went too far because he's dressing up as a gay one? Where did your humour go?

    Posted by: no-no | Nov 6, 2008 12:00:55 PM


  10. This blog has a listing of the businesses owned by the Mormon church as well as ones that donated to the "Yes on 8" campaign., our gay dollars should not go here.

    http://www.steamingpileofspin.blogspot.com/

    Posted by: cambel | Nov 6, 2008 12:14:46 PM


  11. Boring, and not funny.

    Posted by: The Milkman | Nov 6, 2008 12:58:43 PM


  12. I have always thought Sasha Baron Cohen was homophobic and that his comedy is extremely childish and stupid.

    Posted by: it figures | Nov 6, 2008 1:19:42 PM


  13. 15:01

    Time's up.

    Posted by: Jeffrey | Nov 6, 2008 1:32:47 PM


  14. the problem with this and borat is that normal " everyday" americans watch it, and if the polls dont prove it, normal every day americans are ignorant asshats, who dont need more films showing them how to behave....i watched borat, everyone laughed at the racist stuff, aswell as the dumb stuff... and i know people were not going" oh the irony of sacha being a jew making these statements" that was not what was running thro peoples heads....the same will happen with this film, maybe if homosexuals were treated fairly we could devote a film to mocking them, but at this point its disgusting and unwelcome, which i have stated since day one. anyone who defends this film does so without understanding who will actually see it....13 yo's quoating borats racist remarks is not my idea of funny( and i know the movie is restricted, but you know how people are)

    Posted by: Trevor | Nov 6, 2008 1:58:11 PM


  15. Why do you insist on exposing the man as Bruno, thus ruining his chance at being funny? What do you gain from that? Why don't you just let the man do his thing, and try at least to mine some comic gold from such a depressing, rights-quashing event.

    Posted by: Jess | Nov 6, 2008 3:02:19 PM


  16. If any of you who voted NO on prop 8 are against Bruno, you are COMPLETELY wrong.

    Posted by: john | Nov 6, 2008 5:40:02 PM


  17. Come on... his Bruno character is all about exposing homophobia and making its perpetrators look ridiculous. Clearly this is what his 'participation' in the Yes on 8 rally was all about. Get a grip, people.

    Posted by: Bill | Nov 6, 2008 5:42:33 PM


  18. anyone who defends these films as comedy is WRONG. yes intelligent people can watch them and find them funny, but the problem isnt with intelligent people, its with morons, we dont need more fuel to be added to the fire of stupidity.t

    Posted by: Trevor | Nov 6, 2008 5:47:06 PM


  19. Hey all, I am the cameraman who shot that Bruno video. I think it's important to the gay community to get out the story behind this video, so that maybe something good can come from an ugly event.

    I'm fortunate to shoot exclusively for queer news media with the show Reel Gay, produced by the great folks at Manmade Multimedia. I hold an LAPD press credential. I am a news camera. The Prop 8 story is something we've proudly been following for awhile. If you watch the long version, you see the whole march by the No-ers to the intersection. It was good to see many of my friends in the crowd.

    So I'm just covering this news story, shooting a civil rights demonstration. In fact, by the camera work, I doubt you could tell a real agenda, because I do try to capture all aspects of an event, so a viewer can feel like they were there.

    Though the podcast captioning indicates when you first see the Bruno crew (and yes, they were operating with out a permit - I called down to the LA film permit office), I didn't know who the hell they were. I just like to shoot the occasional media camera shot at an event. It make a great cut-away for "media" presence. Then I panned left to the sign. I spend more camera time on the sign then the guy holding it. I didn't know that was Bruno. And then I stupidly pan left to some lady because I'd had enough of some guy in a blue shirt holding a sign. Then I cut the camera.

    As I stood behind the "Yes" people, looking for a nice shot of their POV of the ""No" side, an argument breaks out between "Yes" people, So I move on over and start shooting. I roll for a while, still not getting it's Bruno. But living in LA, I quickly figured it out. For me, the photojournalist, the story became this street clown who was trying to punk a civil rights event for his new movie I would have been happy to have kept rolling on this performance, but I start getting "mugged" by this other crew. Soon I'm getting bumped and shoved, umbrellas are hitting my camera.

    I don't have eyes in the back of my head. No one tapped me on the shoulder to say, "Hey, you can't be here because we're about to start shooting a scene for our next major comedy motion picture. This street intersection of mass civil demonstration with 20 or 30 police present just to keep safety, is now a closed set." Instead I got mugged by an unethical crew who lacked a location permit.

    And I tired of the stupid charade and did what many people wish they could do - call Cohen out. And I did, rightfully. That's when I get physically yanked by my left arm, injuring my shoulder.

    The police walk over and shut his production down. And me, because I was news, badge hanging around my neck, I continued to shoot the rest of the rally.

    For people who want to see me as a paparazzi, I got to remain at that sight of civil unrest to continue documenting it, with police approval. (So those who think I ruined Cohen's fun, the police didn't think so). Also, a bit of side trivial. You may have see what I was shooting today - the bloodied face of a No protester who'd been decked by a Latino guy in a sleeveless t and a truck, with angry protesters around. I'd been shooting the demonstration against the Mormon church in LA all day long.

    Bloody faces of gay marriage demonstrators - yeah, I feel the "paparazzi" thing.

    If you've stuck with me through this so far, here's the really ugly part.

    The only reason Cohen was at that corner was because his character Bruno is gay. Otherwise, he would have been by a swimming pool somewhere. There were hundreds of gay people all around at that event. The Bruno crew has been going around the country shooting gay events for the movie.

    After the rally, I'm walking back to my car and I see the Bruno crew waiting for their van, and I start rolling on their faces for the police report I later filed. The crew was pissed at me for causing their shoot to get shut down and they acted out with homophobic aggression. Notice how the guy looks at the sign as he opens it up, to make sure the "Yes On 8" was showing. And why, after assaulting me with the sign, did he and others start chanting "Yes On 8"? They could have chanted "No On 8", or just chosen to reman silent. But they most likely were a pissed-off bunch of straight boys and their anger revealed their own bigotry, just like those "Yes" protesters across the street.

    Oh, by the way, did I mention that I was wearing my favorite commemorative 28th annual International Mr. Leather t-shirt, easily identifying me as gay to an film crew who's just run around the country shooting gays?

    Regarding the Bruno performance assault, there exists other footage from another camera that identifies crew members as they assault me. In fact, Bruno had at least three cameras rolling of his own.

    If you got mugged, wouldn't you like it to be right in front of 5 or more cameras and some 20 plus police men?

    With this election, gay people got punk'd.

    As I finish in the podcast, what has Cohen ever done to give back to the gay community who he seeks to punk (oh, don't think for a moment his movie won't be showing gay boys in their not-most flattering light).

    It was wrong when his crew mugged me, but that is for me to handle. But what his crew did afterwards with the ugly and homophobic. A business should be judged by more than it's product. It should also be judged by how it does business.

    Yes, I do want to get the word out in our community about this because the man is making a movie about our community. People chanting "Yes On 8" won't stand in our community after this election.

    I would like for the Bruno production company to have to donate financially to help repeal Prop 8.

    This can happen if you share the podcast and the story behind it.

    If it looks like a duck and it walks like a duck, well...

    Thank you for your time and help

    Posted by: Mike | Nov 7, 2008 4:39:26 AM


  20. mike-"Also, a bit of side trivia. You may have see what I was shooting today - the bloodied face of a No protester who'd been decked by a Latino guy in a sleeveless t and a truck, with angry protesters around. I'd been shooting the demonstration against the Mormon church in LA all day long."

    Side trivia? Yet you would rather we focus on your altercation with an entertainer and a couple boom mics?

    I think the rest of your footage of the protests is a hundred times more interesting and relevant than this non-story. I'll wait until I've seen the Bruno movie before I judge it.

    What I find most disappointing about some of these posts is the panic and desperation that some seem to have in response to prop 8 passing. I'm glad that the gay community is taking immediate action and staging protests all over the state, but some of us seem ready to start blindly swinging in every direction.

    This is not the end. We will win this battle with determination, integrity, and unity, not panic.

    Posted by: dothur | Nov 7, 2008 10:12:30 AM


  21. In have known Mike Skiff for years and while I wasn't there I can say without question that he has always been 100% true to his word and has always been dedicated to improving the lives of gay people.

    Hiya Mike! HAven't seen you in a couple of years but good luck!

    Posted by: Derek Washington | Nov 7, 2008 12:24:30 PM


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