Uh-oh, ‘Borat’: It’s Gloria

Etiquette teacher Streit sics heavyweight attorney Allred on pic

The “Borat” buzz only grows louder.

In the most recent uproar over Sacha Baron Cohen’s No. 1 hit movie, the Los Angeles-based, heavyweight attorney Gloria Allred has requested an investigation by the California attorney general into the means by which Springland Films obtained individuals’ consent to appear in “Borat.” (Springland is the DBA — Doing Business As — name of One America, one of the film’s producers.)

Allred is representing Cindy Streit, the owner of Etiquette Training Service in Birmingham, Ala., and is claiming that the agreement Streit signed with Springland Films was to “be filmed as part of a documentary for Belarus Television and for those purposes only.”

Allred alleges that her client’s consent was obtained “through fraud and misrepresentation” in violation of the California Unfair Trade Practices Act.

Complaint comes a week after a lawsuit was filed by two U. of South Carolina frat boys who allege they were similarly deceived.

In “Borat,” released by 20th Century Fox, Streit appears in a dinner party scene, during which Borat — the Kazakh journalist portrayed by Baron Cohen — makes uncouth comments to guests, presents a bag filled, supposedly, with feces, and invites a hooker over.

At a press conference in Birmingham on Thursday, Allred said: “Ms. Streit had no idea that she, her business and certain individuals who were invited to participate in a dinner party were to appear in a major motion picture, or that they would be subjected to ridicule and humiliation. Ms. Streit certainly had no idea that an actor called ‘Borat’ would be coming and discussing defecation with her and be presenting her with what were allegedly his feces at the dinner party.”

For her part, Streit said: “I am mortified at forever being portrayed in an R-rated movie with the most horrifying, pornographic scene imaginable to me. When Borat and his camera crew left our dinner party a year ago, we were left in total shock, and no one told us it had all been a ruse. … In a sincere effort to support cultural differences and being a proud American and Southerner, I thought we could portray our Southern customs and culture to Belarus Television. I am outraged with the deception. How dare they?”

In a statement, Fox said, “Ms. Allred’s contentions on behalf of her client are nonsense. (Her client) signed written agreements with the production which clearly stated that a movie was being filmed, and that the movie could be distributed worldwide. Her fee was negotiated and paid. More than three weeks after filming completed, she asked for and received additional payment for the etiquette training services which she provided on film. And she signed an additional release.”

Allred told Daily Variety that she is asking the attorney general to “consider all appropriate relief” for her client, “including the disgorgement of profits.”

“I’m concerned — is this going to start a trend where members of the public can be victimized in order to earn a profit?” Allred said. “I’m concerned about the stampede to have ‘Borat’-like films victimizing other members of the public through deception. I don’t think they should be about to ride roughshod over the rights of innocent individuals.”

Allred said she has litigated similar cases involving reality TV and that “we’ve litigated successfully.”

More Film

  • Liam Neeson Widows

    Film News Roundup: Liam Neeson's Comedy 'Made in Italy' Sells to IFC

    In today’s film news roundup, IFC buys a Liam Neeson comedy and STX takes territories on Karen Gillan and Lena Headey’s “Gunpowder Milkshake.” ACQUISITIONS IFC Films is acquiring U.S. rights to James D’Arcy’s feature directorial debut, “Made In Italy,” starring Liam Neeson and Micheál Richardson. “Made In Italy” will receive a traditional theatrical release in [...]

  • Baby Peggy

    Diana Serra Cary, Child Star Known as Baby Peggy, Dies at 101

    Diana Serra Cary, the child silent film star known by the nickname Baby Peggy, died on Monday in Gustine, Calif. She was 101. Born on October 29, 1918 as Peggy Jean Montgomery, Cary began her career in the film industry at the early age of 19 months. During a visit with her mother and a [...]

  • Riz Ahmed

    Riz Ahmed on Creating ‘A Really Personal Piece of Work’ with ‘Mogul Mowgli’

    The idea for “Mogul Mowgli” first began in 2017 when British actor, rapper and activist Riz Ahmed met Bassam Tariq, a producer and independent filmmaker, between trips to New York. Almost three years later, the pair is debuting “Mogul Mowgli” in Berlin’s Panorama. The film, which Tariq directed and co-wrote with Ahmed, who also stars, [...]

  • David Permut

    'Hacksaw Ridge' Producer Developing Colombo Crime Family Son's Story (EXCLUSIVE)

    David Permut, the Oscar-nominated producer of “Hacksaw Ridge,” has acquired the life rights to the story of John Franzese Jr., the son of the Colombo crime family’s second-in-command, Sonny Franzese. The elder Franzese passed away on Sunday at the age of 103. Franzese Jr. became active in the family business during the 1980s, leading to [...]

  • Annabella Sciorra

    Annabella Sciorra on Weinstein Verdict: 'We Can Never Regret Breaking the Silence'

    Annabella Sciorra hailed the guilty verdict against ex-mogul Harvey Weinstein, which included a “criminal sexual act” and third-degree rape, on Monday. Weinstein was also acquitted on two counts of predatory sexual assault that centered on Sciorra’s testimony — indicating that the jurors did not believe, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Weinstein had raped and assaulted [...]

  • Gabrielle Carteris participates in Fox's "BH90210"

    SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris on Weinstein Verdict: 'You Can't Hide Any Longer'

    SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris has hailed the verdicts in the Harvey Weinstein case, with the disgraced ex-mogul found guilty of committing a criminal sexual act and third-degree rape. “Justice was served today and Harvey Weinstein was held accountable for his crimes,” Carteris said. “But it is only a beginning. We look forward to the Weinstein [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content