It may be surprising to those who watched Sacha Baron Cohen‘s show Who Is America, but it turns out there was indeed a few sketches filmed for the show which ended up being a little bit too much. In one case, as Baron Cohen revealed to Deadline, it was a lot too much.
Among the shows many satirical characters – including the genius Israeli commando Erran Morad – Baron Cohen designed a particularly repulsive caricature of the stereotypical lecherous European rich guy: Italian billionaire Gio Monaldo. Monaldo’s character was basically a vector through which the satirist explored the darker aspects of the American elite, including the infamous segment where he negotiates the purchase of a heavily armed luxury yacht with which to attack Syrian refugees.
But one segment was “too dark” to be aired. In it, as Baron Cohen relays to Deadline, he genuinely might have uncovered a child sex trafficking operation in Las Vegas. Read it in his own words:
And there was an interview that didn’t make it in, with Gio. We were shooting some of this at the time of Harvey Weinstein. We wanted to investigate how does someone like Harvey Weinstein gets away with doing what…get away with criminality, essentially. And the network that surrounds him. We decided that Gio would interview a concierge in Las Vegas. During the interview, I revealed that basically Gio has molested an eight-year-old boy.
Now, mind you, this is extreme comedy and we thought that the guy would leave the room. Instead, this concierge stays in the room and I go, listen, you’ve got to help me get rid of the problem. And this guy starts advising Gio how to get rid of this issue. We even at one point talk about murdering the boy, and the concierge is just saying, “Well, listen, I’m really sorry. In this country, we can’t just drown the boy. This is America we don’t do that.” And then, in the end, he puts me in touch with a lawyer who can silence the boy. I became really dark stuff. And then at the end of the interview I say, listen, I want to go out and celebrate now. Can you get me a date for tonight? He says, “What do you mean, a date?”
I go, you know, like a young man. He says, “Well, what kind of age?” I say, lower than Bar Mitzvah but older than eight. And he says, “Yeah, I can put you in touch with somebody who can get you some boys like that.”
Preeeeeeetty bad. Baron Cohen says his team immediately turned the footage over to the FBI – because obviously it seemed like they had uncovered something deeply criminal – but he says that the FBI “decided not to pursue it.” Huh.
Well. That’s, uh, something. You can read the rest of the interview, which is an interesting behind-the-scenes on how the team pulled off some of the more insane aspects of the show, right here.