LANCASTER, Calif. (CN) – A woman claims the antics of Sacha Baron-Cohen put her in a wheelchair while the writer-actor was filming a new movie in the persona of “Bruno.” Baron-Cohen was repeatedly, and unsuccessfully, sued by people who appeared in his film “Borat,” but those claims did not involve disabling physical injuries.
The multiple plaintiffs in lawsuits over Cohen’s 2007 film “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Kazakhstan” generally claimed that Cohen violated their rights to their own image or fraudulently induced them to appear in the fake documentary.
But charity director Richelle Olsen and her husband say Olsen fell and hit her head while trying to wrest a microphone from the comedian after he unleashed a barrage of “vulgar and offensive language over the loudspeaker of a bingo hall” in Palmdale, in California’s High Desert.
Cohen “offensively touched pushed and battered” Olsen as she tried to take his microphone, according to the Superior Court lawsuit, then ordered three cameramen and two sound employees to “rush the stage” and attack her.
Olsen says Cohen was trying to provoke an emotional response so he could humiliate her on film.
Olsen says she fled the stage and tried to calm down. She says another charity employee found her “sobbing uncontrollably” in a side room, and when she tried to stand up, she passed out and hit her head on the floor, causing a concussion. She claims she has been in a wheelchair since the incident happened, in late May 2007.
Olsen claims that Cohen makes it a practice to “lure” victims “into the lair of Sacha Baron Cohen to cause maximum humiliation.”
She calls the Bruno character “an extreme, outrageous, offensive caricature of a gay man dressed in sexually revealing clothing with an Austrian accent meant to illicit a response from individuals through vulgar, sexually charged statements.”
According to an Internet Movie Database, the new film’s working title is “Bruno: Delicious Journeys Through America for the Purpose of Making Heterosexual Males Visibly Uncomfortable in the Presence of a Gay Foreigner in a Mesh T-Shirt.”
Olsen seeks damages, medical expenses and lost wages. She is represented by Kyle Madison and Walter Batt of Los Angeles.