Former Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore has filed a defamation lawsuit against Sacha Baron Cohen, Showtime, and CBS Corporation after he appeared on a segment of the comedian’s new series Who Is America?
The suit claims that Cohen “set up scenarios” where Moore was to be interviewed “under dishonest, unethical, illegal and false pretenses.”
It additionally claims that Cohen represented to Moore that he would appear on a show created by “Yerushalayim TV” and that he and his wife were invited to Washington, D.C. to “receive an award for his strong support of Israel in commemoration of its 70th anniversary.”
The suit alleges that during the segment, in which Cohen was undercover as his character Erran Morad, a fictional Israeli counter-terrorism expert, the comedian “falsely painted, portrayed, mocked and with malice defamed Judge Moore as a sex offender, which he is not.”
In the segment, which aired over the summer, Cohen waved over Moore a wand he claimed was a piece of Israeli technology meant to identify sex offenders, “especially pedophiles.”
When the wand goes over Moore, it beeps, prompting the Republican ex-candidate to say, “Certainly, I’m not a pedophile. Maybe Israeli technology hasn’t developed properly.”
During Moore’s failed bid for Senate in 2017, he was accused by multiple women of inappropriately pursuing them when they were young teenagers. In one claim, he allegedly attempted to rape a girl when she was 16.
Moore’s lawsuit claims the segment “has severely harmed Judge Moore's reputation and caused him, Mrs. Moore, and his entire family severe emotional distress, as well as caused and will cause Plaintiffs financial damage.”
All the damage is made worse, the suit says, because of Moore’s status as a “prominent conservative and a God fearing person of faith.”
As for relief, the suit demands “punitive damages in excess” of a whopping $95,000,000.
Cohen’s Showtime series also ensnared right-wing figures like former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), gun-rights activist Philip Van Cleave, and Republican lawmaker Jason Spencer, who resigned after he was shown dropping his trousers and screaming racial epithets in one episode.