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Cameraman Says ‘Bruno’ Crew Incited Riot

LOS ANGELES (CN) - A cameraman for gay news outlets claims he was injured when Sasha Baron Cohen's camera crew for "Bruno" incited a crowd demonstrating on both sides of Proposition 8, in an "attempt to convert the peaceful demonstration into dramatic rioters" to get better footage for the movie.

In a Superior Court complaint abounding in ironies, Mike Skiff, who says he is gay and shoots news film for gay news groups, claims the Bruno camera crew - filming for a movie in which Cohen portrays a gay man - incited both sides of the Prop. 8 rally to try "to enhance the dramatic effect of what they may capture for their film."

He adds: "In order to create dramatic content for its production, Bruno Productions' intent was to promote violent discord between the assembled 'yes' and 'no' factions."

Skiff says he was filming the demonstration, as news, when he suffered "serious physical injury" after Cohen's film crew, "of some 10 to 15 members, descended on the scene, without authority or permission."

The demonstrations were downtown, near the Federal Courthouse, held on Nov. 2, 2008, two days before Californians approved Prop. 8 by popular vote, barring gay marriage in the state.

Skiff claims that "with well organized and executed police assistance, the opposing factions were reasonably orderly. They were initially separated facing each other on opposite sides of the street, and physically, dangerous or threatening conduct was thereby initially avoided."

But Skiff says Cohen's production crew "carried 'Yes On Proposition 8' signs contrived for the sole purpose of inciting and sparking unrest to enhance the dramatic effect of what they may capture for their film."

He claims this incitement placed him "in fear of a harmful and offensive physical contact ... with the threat of being clubbed with wooden signs and subjecting him to being shoved, pulled and wrestled in a vicious and blatant attempt to prevent plaintiff from filming the event."

Skiff says that he was indeed "injured in his health, strength and activity, sustaining injury to his body and shock and injury to his nervous system and person, all of which injuries have caused and continue to cause Plaintiff great physical, mental and emotional pain and suffering."

He seeks punitive damages for assault and battery, incitement to riot and civil rights violations. He is represented by Clifford Scherer.

Defendants include Cohen, Cold Stream Productions, a Bruno cameraman and a member of the production crew.


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