I guess it's been a few minutes since the last Sacha Baron Cohen lawsuit, so here's another one. It's a little more serious this time, though. Ayman Abu Aita, the man portrayed as a Muslim terrorist in Brüno, claims he's not a terrorist at all, but just a Palestinian guy who lives in Bethlehem, works as a grocer, and has a wife and four kids. He's filed a defamation suit for 70 million pounds (about $114 million) against Baron Cohen, NBC Universal Studios, and David Letterman -- the latter because it was on Letterman's show that Baron Cohen told the story of how he used CIA contacts to find a "real terrorist," the details of which Abu Aita says are completely fabricated.

London's Daily Mail has the story. In the film, Brüno meets with Abu Aita, whose name appears in a caption identifying him as "terrorist group leader, Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade." Brüno says that in order to get famous, he'd like to be kidnapped by some terrorists, and he advises Abu Aita to have his people get rid of their beards, since Osama bin Laden looks like "a kind of dirty wizard of homeless Santa." Then Abu Aita kicks Brüno out, the implication being that he's offended by Brüno's mockery of Osama. (You can see a clip from the scene here.)

But Abu Aita says he's not a terrorist, that he opposes terrorist groups, and that he's a "peace activist." He says he's received death threats since the movie came out, and that it has ruined his life. Moreover, while the film claims the interview took place in a refugee camp in Lebanon, it was actually shot in a popular West Bank hotel, in an area under Israeli control, next to an Israeli army base. Abu Aita says he was told he was meeting with a German filmmaker doing a documentary about Palestinians.
categories Movies, Cinematical