The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


‘Borat’ lawsuit is bogus: frat boys should get over it

Borat lawsuit is bogus: frat boys should get over it

Picture this: a few fraternity brothers drinking beer and calling girls “bitches” and “hoes.” This sounds like a typical weekend at an SMU, nothing worth mentioning. Except this time someone got it on tape and is showing it to international audiences on the silver screen.

It’s not just any someone, either. It’s Sacha Baron Cohen, the British actor known for his three unique characters on Da Ali G Show. One of those personalities is Borat, a journalist from Kazakhstan, who recently made his Hollywood debut with his full-length film: “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.”

In the movie Borat interviews different people across the United States to report on all aspects of American life. His subjects do not know that Borat is a fictional character conducting improvisational interviews and they go along with his outlandish behavior and questions. The cultural differences are hilarious as Borat makes unsuspecting citizens very uncomfortable and say things that make a mockery of our country-especially the South. However, some people are not laughing.

Two of them are Chi Psis from the University of South Carolina, who were allegedly assured the film would not be shown in the America. While in an RV with Borat they open up on camera, making racist and sexist remarks and shaming themselves into bigots.

Now they are both suing 20th Century Fox and other production companies, as well as people involved in the picture for fraud and false light among other reasons. The lawsuit claims that a production crew led the students to a bar to “loosen up” before participating in what they were told would be a documentary to be shown outside of the United States, and that they signed waivers after drinking heavily.

This lawsuit has as much merit as the cheap beer they were drinking. Sure they can file several legal papers for a court trial, but it’s only going to create a buzz.

These poor frat boys should have fully read the contract before signing off their 15 minutes of fame. Any adult should know to be cautious when dealing with cameras and contracts. While the producers may be guilty of unethical behavior, those boys must take full responsibility for their chauvinist actions. There is just no valid excuse for not completely checking out the contract before signing away your decency. Not even being drunk.

Marc Kozak, Mick Swasko and Eric Strand of The Daily Vidette write, “Regardless, let’s not forget that whether they knew the context or not, they still said what they said. It was obvious, even to them, that they were on camera and they still stated things that most people wouldn’t normally be proud of saying.”

If in fact they were misled to make fools of themselves in front of international audiences, the truth is that no body made them say what they said. Those boys have no excuse for making racial slurs and derogatory remarks against women on camera. Even if it was to be shown in Kazakhstan, it proves they want foreigners to portray Americans as sexist and racist pigs. Unfortunately for those animals, their barnyard behavior was shown to their own country. I do not sympathize with them for not reading the contract and thinking that they could get away with such offensive statements.

“If the producers did indeed “loosen up” the boys before having them sign the legal waiver, then there could be a legal issue and most definitely a moral issue, but not one that pertains whatsoever to the content of what the boys said,” the Vidette columnists add.

Pat Haggerty, the featured humor coach, is another unwitting “co-star” not giving Borat a “High five!” However, he is more understanding of his position.

“They were exercising a First Amendment right,” Haggerty said. “I’m just sorry that he had to do it in such a way that he allowed people to make jerks out of themselves exposing their character flaws.”

According to the lawsuit, the plaintiffs claim they suffered “humiliation, mental anguish, and emotional and physical distress, loss of reputation and goodwill and standing in the community” because the movie was indeed released in the U.S. Talk about a hangover!

It’s going to take more than a few Aspirins and Gatorades to cure this rough night. They should suffer those consequences – it’s their own fault. It’s humiliating to even have those extremist thoughts, and even more publicly embarrassing to have them broadcast. Kazakhstan’s “sexy time” – loving, fictional Borat is merely exposing a disgusting but factual side of America-not creating it.

In today’s society we have to be responsible and never assume that we are always being told the truth. And we have to be extra cautious when there are cameras involved because one never knows what might happen to that film later on down the line.

Just ask Paris Hilton about that one.

About the writer:

Annalise Ghiz is a senoir journalism major. She can be reached at [email protected].

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