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Did Borat Producers Screw Over Suckers?

11/14/2006 5:28 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Harvey Levin's Z Spin

Borat is in the ZSpinThere's a debate raging in Hollywood over the making of the "Borat" movie and whether producers deceived the people who appeared in the film. Well, if there was deceit, it could cost FOX plenty, but it's peanuts compared to the money the studio is raking in.

Two frat boys who appeared onscreen in a drunken, racial rant are now suing producers, claiming they were told the movie was a TV documentary authorized by the government of Kazakhstan and that it would never be shown in the U.S. A driving school owner also featured in the film told TMZ exactly the same story.

Here's the deal. If someone lies to you to get you to sign a legal document -- in this case, a release allowing producers to include you in a film -- whatever you subsequently sign may not be legally binding. It's called fraud in the inducement, meaning someone induces you to sign an otherwise binding contract under false pretenses.

TMZ has done some digging, and everyone we've spoken with, who was featured in the film, told us the same tale of woe -- that they were all led to believe their fellow "US and A" citizens would never know what they did on camera.

This could be a fascinating case if it makes it to court. On the one hand, you have producers who could look like greedy, double-dealing schmucks trying to bamboozle ordinary folk. On the other hand, how's a jury gonna feel about two racist frat boys who expected that their prejudices would be a secret protected by the Atlantic Ocean?

FOX has simply said the lawsuit is without merit. Here's the reality: The studio may end up paying off some of the featured "performers." Maybe they'll each get 25 grand. Compare that to a movie that could rake in hundreds of millions of dollars. If that's the cost of doing business, then sign everyone up.

If FOX did the dirty deed, at the end of the day, the message to other studios is clear: Do whatever it takes to make a hit movie, because you'll score big-time in the end.

72 COMMENTS

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16.

coco puff    

Shelly, they don't let Catholics in KKK meetings, but thanks for making my point.

2816 days ago
17.

Richard    

If the producers did falsely induce those appearing than they should pay up. If these people had known before signing this was a satirical mockumentary, would they have behaved like they did? ( after seeing a movie) a couple of them might have, but I don't believe the majority would have not appeared in the film if they were aware. Harvey, You are right on in your discussion on this topic. These folks were misled into signing- and they should either settle up- or let a jury decide.

2816 days ago
18.

Lou    

Tony admit it you're an anti-semite. Be careful not to get drunk in any public places because they might film YOU. Simone, lighten up. People who live in glass houses................

2816 days ago
19.

Get Rid of Hollywoods Crack Whores NOW    

Tony, I am sorry, I didnt mean to confuse Christianity with Catholicism.

I forgot, the Catholics like to have priests molest children....

2816 days ago
20.

ok sure, why not.    

Being a douche bag is not a defense. Being drunk is not a defense. These clowns did it, deal with the humiliation! It's called being responsible for ones own actions. They need to try it. I wonder what their moms said.

2816 days ago
21.

coco puff    

Oh, so typical it's pathetic. A bunch of wannabee lawyers writing on this blog and quoting law. Give me a freaking break. You're all just jealous because his movie is a hit and who gives a sh*t if he suckered them on film. They deserved it and now they want a piece of the action, F***-em! Borat rocks and deserves all the money he gets, period!!!

2816 days ago
22.

coco puff    

Yo, Shelly, I think you need to get laid. It's not my fault your married to a jap. What is Jewish foreplay? 4 hours of begging!! LOL!!!

2816 days ago
23.

SuziQ    

Who cares!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2816 days ago
24.

jennifer    

Get up on the wrong side of the bed today, Shelly?

2816 days ago
25.

Get Rid of Hollywoods Crack Whores NOW    

Tony sounds like a jerk. I liked Borat and his movie.

2816 days ago
26.

coco puff    

I don't think they knew and that's what makes it great. If they knew, they wouldn't of been real, they would of had been actors. Borat had a great idea and I think he's a comical genius. I hope he runs for President in 2008, he's got my vote.

2816 days ago
27.

John    

This is a simple case of people trying to cash in from looking like idiots. The "Borat" character has been doing the same stunts, some of which make the frat boy's comments look mild (See the Borat goes Hunting in Texas), for years. Now with the major exposure of his movie people want a taste of the millions. Then you have the villagers who feel "ashamed" that they were put in a movie. I would feel ashamed if I lived the way they did. It only took like $5 to buy their dignity and now they wish they would have asked for $10. They are all pathetic and congrats to the producers for being smart and making this movie by exploiting people that are too stupid to realize it. I am sorry but when you're dumb, you suffer

2816 days ago
28.

KiKi_K    

If the people who are now complaining signed releases, I hope TMZ will get copies, it will be interesting to see what they said. I'd bet money, however, that no one read anything before they signed anyway, or that they bothered to get copies. Most people don't read contracts before they sign them.

2816 days ago
29.

Sara    

Give me a break. These idiots participated because they wanted to. I don't care if the producers said it would only be shown in another country, THEY STILL SIGNED UP!!! Now the movie is big and they want a cut.....typical greed. If this movie would have tanked I guarantee we would not even be discussing this.

2816 days ago
30.

Herself    

Shouldn't we be asking the obvious question: Why didn't the plaintiffs bother to read the documents they signed? It's not like they were they blindfolded (in the case of the frat boys, clearly their pointy white hoods clouded their judgement).

Every one of them signed willingly and happily took the couple of hundred bucks offered for their participation.

I don't feel sorry for any of them. Nope, not one little bit.

2816 days ago
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