In his recent series, ‘Who is America?’, an undercover Baron Cohen passed a beeping “pedophile detector” in front of Moore, who was accused of pursuing relationships with underage girls in 2017.
A federal judge has dismissed failed United States Senate candidate Roy Moore’s $95 million lawsuit against actor and comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, who mocked sexual misconduct accusations against Moore in the recently released series, Who is America?
According to The Associated Press, Judge John Cronan found that Moore had signed a clear, unambiguous disclosure agreement, in which the aspiring politician pledged not to file any legal claims against Baron Cohen or his production company.
Cronan further observed that the segment featuring Moore was “clearly a joke,” and that no reasonable viewer would think that Baron Cohen was making factual allegations.
In Who is America?, Baron Cohen plays a variety of over-the-top characters, who interact with prominent figures—as well as the general public—to elicit reactions on controversial facets of American society, from racism to Islamophobia and firearm fetishism.
Baron Cohen typically keeps his identity a secret, and leads his interview subjects and chance-encounters to believe his character personas are genuine.
Moore, notes The Associated Press, was sometimes known as “the Ten Commandments judge” for opposing same-sex marriage and advocating for Biblical displays in public.
Ironically, Moore was later accused of pursuing sexual and romantic relationships with teenagers when he was in his thirties. According to the BBC, at least eight woman accused Moore of sexual misconduct in 2017, with one alleging that he assaulted her when she was aged 14.
In Who is America?, Baron Cohen—masquerading as counter-terrorism instructor Col. Erran Morad—pretended to give Moore an award for his support of Israel. He also discussed bogus military technology developed by the Israeli armed forces, including a “pedophile detector” which beeped when Baron Cohen moved it towards Moore.
While Moore says the segment defamed him, Cronan found that the segment was an obvious joke.
“In light of the context of Judge Moore’s interview, the segment was clearly a joke and no reasonable viewer would have seen it otherwise,” Judge Cronan wrote.
“The court agrees that Judge Moore’s claims are barred by the unambiguous contractual language, which precludes the very causes of action he now brings,” he added.
However, Moore and his wife—who is a co-plaintiff in the complaint—said they will appeal Cronan’s ruling.
“Of course we will appeal,” they said in a statement released to The A.P. “This court used words like “tricked” and “Joke” in describing Cohen’s behavior but still do nothing to rein in his fraudulent misconduct.”
Moore, notes the BBC, has maintained that his accusers were part of “a political conspiracy” to undermine his 2017 campaign for a U.S. Senate seat in Alabama, which he lost to Democrat Doug Jones by about 20,000 votes.