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Borat Lawsuits

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Running Man
    
A New York businessman who is seen being chased down Fifth Avenue by comedian Sacha Baron Cohen in the film "Borat" is suing over his unwitting bit role in the hit comedy, claiming that his civil rights have been violated. Jeffrey Lemerond, 31, claims in a U.S. District Court complaint that the film depicts him "fleeing in apparent terror" from Borat, the phony Kazakh reporter portrayed by Cohen. In his June 1 lawsuit, a copy of which you'll find below, Lemerond notes that he was screaming "go away" at Cohen, who was seeking a hug from the rattled stranger. While Lemerond used the alias "John Doe" when filing the federal lawsuit, he listed his real name in a nearly identical state court lawsuit that was filed--and then immediately withdrawn--in January. Unlike the federal action, which only names Twentieth Century Fox, the movie's distributor, as a defendant, the aborted New York State Supreme Court action listed Cohen, director Larry Charles, and producer Jay Roach as defendants. Lemerond alleges that Twentieth Century Fox unjustly enriched itself through the unauthorized use of his image. He also claims to have suffered "public ridicule, degradation, and humiliation" as a result of his brief appearance in the film. Footage of Cohen chasing Lemerond was first seen in the movie's trailer, though Lemerond's face had been pixelated from view. However, the film company did not "scramble Plaintiff's face in the film itself." Lemerond's complaint does not specify monetary damages, though it does note that "Borat" has grossed in excess of $320 million in movie ticket and DVD sales. Lemerond, a Dartmouth College graduate, has previously worked as a financial analyst The Carlyle Group and J.P. Morgan & Co.


Denigration of Roma (Gypsies)
The scenes supposedly filmed in Borat's Kazakh village were actually filmed in an impoverished Roma (also known as Gypsies, though many consider this term derogatory) village of Glod in Romania.
USA Today reports that poverty-stricken villagers were offered between $3.30 and $5.50 (US dollars) to bring animals into their houses and perform other acts which ended up degrading them for the benefit of the amusement and profit of others.
The studio contends that participants were paid double the rate recommended by the Romanian film office for extras.

Two villagers of Glod, have hired the famous Holocaust attorney Ed Fagan to sue the makers of the Borat film for $30 million for human rights abuses. Fagan intends to submit lawsuits in New York and Florida state courts, as well as in Frankfurt, Germany.
 
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