TMZ

Our TV Shows

Got a Tip?

Call TMZ at (888) 847-9869 or Click Here

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

No Avatar
31.

kei    

"...claiming...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. [SIC]"

TMZ, I know you're gonna fix that, but please do it quickly while this is the top story of the moment.

2808 days ago
32.

coco puff    

I think Hollywood is really pissed off because they could never make a movie on that budget and get that return. And, the ambulance chasing lawyers are just trying to cash in from these morons in the movie by making them into victim's!

2808 days ago
33.

P.J.    

Mr. Cohen came up with a good, lucrative idea and had the best P.R. machine behind him. But a comic genius? It doesn't take much to make everyday people look stupid. I saw his Ali G show with its triumvirate of characters, was not entertained, and turned it off.

This most offensive aspect of Borat is how the publicists and Fox instilled this notion that if you don't like this movie, then you're stupid. So alot of people are going into the film knowing they're going to love it, because well, they don't want to be viewed as stupid.

After the fervor settles, Borat will be viewed as a flash in the pan, and Cohen will get served a heaping slice of humble pie when his next movie based on Bruno does not live up to expectations.

But enough of the ad hominem arguments. These dupes are about to receive a monumental windfall. If they don't have an atrophied brain, then they won't settle. Every opportunistic ambulance chaser would love to take on this case because, like previous posters stated, you can't have someone signed a contract under false pretenses. These unwilling players would be smart to join forces to take on News Corp and its insidious impresario Rupert Murdoch.

2808 days ago
34.

Tina, Madison    

I happened to see a clip for the Dixie Chicks movie and there was an old man that made a statement something like this:

"Free speech is fine as long as you don't do it in public"

To me that sounds like the thinking of most of the people who participated in the movie. They were more than happy to say and do things when they thought that no one they knew would see it. If those are you're real feelings, then stand up and take your man pill. Now the world will see you for what you really are. If they were't your real beliefs, then why be so stupid as to say dumbass things? Especially if the producers told you that it was only for another country. How stupid is that....aren't Americans hated enough around the world without morons making statements like that?!?! UUUUGGGGHHHH!!! Common sense, People!!!

2808 days ago
35.

seejay    

But where were these documents signed?
I believe that there are juristictional questions here.
If accusers claim fraud in the inducement, where did said fraud occur?
In Romania, as in the case of "the villagers?"
If so, wouldn't the defendant have to be brought before a Romanian Court?

2808 days ago
36.

Carrie    

So if it had been for a documentary that would never be shown in the U.S that makes it ok to make those remarks? To say those things knowing that it would be shown only to people who supposedly wouldn't know about Americans and to allow those people to think this is how America was would be alright? AND I'm assuming that there would have been lighting, production crew and film cameras...which for a "poor country" seems highly unlikely. What you have here is some people who are now highly embarrassed by their actions and seeing that the movie has made a ton of money want a piece of the pie. At the end of the day the only thing that really matters is that they made the statements, Borat just set them up to hang themselves.

2808 days ago
37.

charles    

Hey, they spewed that ignorant crap knowing they were being filmed. Thought they were hilarious and signed releases endorsing their beliefs. Now they cry and whine that they are being screwed over. Typical. They continue to conduct themselves with the complete lack of character they displayed in the movie. If you think it's impressive to say crap like that then at least act like men and take the consequences. Pathetic and weak. And I imagine that the people commenting above with their "lighten up" brand of bigotry and ethnic jokes, have never had the misfortune to have someone tell them they're worthless simply because of a circumstance of birth. It amazes me what crawls out from under rocks to post racist bile on threads dealing with matters such as this.

2808 days ago
38.

Tina, Madison    

Nicely put, Brandy #29!!

2808 days ago
39.

stay away    

The douche bags shouldnt get sh*t. They are not embarassed they want cold hard cash. what a waste of human space

2808 days ago
40.

Daniel    

Ali G/ Borat is a genius. He has found a way to apply his talent, journalism and the stupidity of the public to make money for himself and entertainment for everyone else. With that said, the law is the law. If the contract was presented to these morons under false pretenses, then they deserve their money. But I don't think Ali G or Fox is stupid enough to allow this obvious future problem slip by. Ali G has been doing this for years and is an expert at it. So I believe, and I don't care how many idiots are saying the same thing who appeared in the movie, that the so called victims in this movie are lying. What is on paper, is on paper. If they signed it, it's legit. The only way they should get any money is with definite proof that they were scammed. I don't think they have that proof. So what they say, will not stand up in court. In conclusion, I think Fox paying them off will make Fox appear guilty. I say, let the the little bastards take it to court. No one should be rewarded for their stupidity exposed. You're a Racist, get over it. Everyone knows, don't get in front of a camera drunk. Next time you sign something, don't sign it unless you know what it is.

2808 days ago
41.

su.san smith    

Ok, Now none of these people have NEVER watched the Da Ali G show on HBO, right?
i think these people just wanted to be filmed and didn't care what it was for.
You can't tell me, that they did not realize this.

Again, Middle America is making the Entertainment Business the bad guy. It is crazy and for no reason.
I hope they DO NOT have to pay anyone for these lawsuits. The people are dumb and sue happy.

2808 days ago
42.

sam    

The lawyers must have gotten to these kids. And guess what they're the ones that are going to make the most money no matter which way this swing. If you're enough of a moron that you'd say things to the rest of the world, and don't expected it to come back to haunt you, you're an idiot. Have these college students ever heard of the internet? I hope the other guys at there school kick their asses for being such wussies.

The movie is hilarious, go see it this weekend if you haven't already.

2808 days ago
43.

Message In A Bottle    

First off Shelly, your comment about Catholics clearly shows how ignorant you are.....second, I agree with those saying that its okay for them to say those remarks across the Atlantic but not the US...those frat boys had a choice whether they wanted to be in the film or not, now that they've been exposed, they're trying to clean up thier reputations.

"We were drunk!"

What a great excuse people use today...::sigh::

2808 days ago
44.

AA    

Under which pretences they gave total rights to the use of their image really does not change the results. Even if the movie was made for some little know country to them, with YouTube, internet and/or a slow day in the news these images could have still made it to the US.

I mean, if you want a restricted use of your images then that’s what you need to sign up for. I do think that the producers probably stated that the footage was going to use for something other than for what they intended but even well intended producers change their mind, hence why they request absolute rights to people’s image.

2808 days ago
45.

coco puff    

The Jews are very consistent. They hate more than anyone else and always claim to be the victim's. If you want respect you have to earn it and stop the whining. Man up and grow a pair, or just admit to being a bunch of cry baby p***ies!

2808 days ago
Previous 15 Comments | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | Most Recent | Next 15 Comments

Around The Web