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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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Previous 15 Comments | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5
61.

ray hiliger    

ANY DUMBASS THAT WIILL DO ANYTHING TO GET ON A DUMBASS SHOW WILL DO ANYTHING TO BE A DUMBASS ANYWHERE, LIKE: GIRLS GONE WILD( DUMBASS GIRLS GETTING NAKED ), ABOUT ANYTHING ON MTV,
BORAT,. THE GUYS AND GIRLS IN QUESTION WILL VOTE SOME DAY. NOW THAT IS SCARYYYYYYYYYY! AND RAISE OTHER DUMBASS CHILDREN
SUPRISING ENOUGH THEY DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY WE ARE IN IRAQ.

2810 days ago
62.

Amy    

I happen to know all three of these gentleman.In Fact, on thesmokinggun.com I am actaully featured in a photgraph with one of the men. I know for a fact that they were misrepresented. I think that you all need to take a look at the entire situation, what the producers did was legally wrong. Be honest with your selves please...You know that when you are intoxicated you have done ateast one thing that you would not normally do. For those of you that say you havent.. You are lying to yourselves. Everyone has done things out of the ordinary..and things they wouldnt. Its called human nature people. Put yourselves in their shoes... What would you be doing?? Honestly...If someone had lied to you, and made your name and organization look bad. This could affect your future. THink about it.
I suggest that everyone chill out and put this into perspective...We have all done things that we would not normally do and are not proud of.
The Chi Psi house and all of its Brothers are the most sincere men I have met. I can almost guarantee you that if it were any other Fraternity from the south...You would all be more heated over this, bc some ( not naming names) almost preach this stuff to their pledges and its a continous thing.
In closing... I know first hand how things went, I was present when the production crew appraoched these men and I was present when they returned back to the Lodge. I know 100% that they were misrepresented and I will gladly stand behind them and Chi Psi without a doubt.

2810 days ago
63.

ray hiliger    

IT'S LIKE PROSTITUTES FILING SEXUAL HARRASMENT CHARGES.

2810 days ago
64.

K10House    

Even I know that something filmed anywhere in the world can easily end up on YouTube in my living room. If those frat boys didn't know they were doing something wrong, they wouldn't have cared where their actions/words might be shown in the future, including the big screen, and I'm truly happy to see them exposed for who they really are. That's the genius of Cohen and all of his characters - he/they expose people, shedding light on the realities of our nation and the people who compose it. If you're being an ass, look out. If you're cool through and through, he'll expose that too.

2810 days ago
65.

Missy    

#47....Beautiful..simple, obvious, telling. You could not have insulted #46 more if you wrote a whole paragraph. Absolutely beautiful.

2810 days ago
66.

Missy    

No Amy...as a matter of fact, I have NEVER sat around making racial slurs and condoning slavery because I was drunk. It's an EXCUSE. I feel sorry for you...some day, when you've spent time in the real world, you'll realize that the type of guys you are calling "friends" are the biggest enemies you'll ever know.

2810 days ago
67.

Cynthia    

The issue boils down to the law. Is it legal to mislead people to get them to sign a contract? Yes, people should read contracts before signing them--I for one would never have agreed to be filmed without reviewing the contract with a legal advisor--but at the same time, if the Fox producers broke the law, then they should be held accountable. The man who operates the ridiculous Girls Gone Wild scheme has settled more than one lawsuit for similar reasons. Yes, the fraternity members behaved as idiots (I haven't seen the movie, but I have read enough about what they said and did), but regardless, the question of legality deserves to be addressed in a court of law.

2810 days ago
68.

Amy    

Also, in response to Missy....I have spent time in the real world... I am not a college student any longer. I work a 12 hour shift job,have my own house and take care of myself, etc...People my age havent accomplished half the sh*t I have by this time....Its people like you that I feel sorry for who have to lie to themselves claiming that they are perfect and have never "done or said anything wrong"

2810 days ago
69.

smqt    

Are racist remarks legal in the US?
I'm not 100% sure within the context of this film, but I think you could get sued here for making racist remarks, especially if caught on tape....

2809 days ago
70.

Jim Aes    

If someone lies to you to get you to sign a legal document ... whatever you subsequently sign may not be legally binding.

Therefore:

Every man who enlisted in the U.S. Army and was promised an assignment as a musician or chaplain’s assistant ( a common recruiting tactic) should get an immediate discharge and the Army should pay damages for the time served. The contract is void.

2805 days ago
71.

kcjonesesq    

Just think what Alan Funt would have to put up with these days.

2804 days ago
72.

PhoenixAZ    

What's with all the arguing??? It sounds like a Yahoo! chat room in here! I just saw 'Borat' for the first time last night, and it was hands down the absolute funniest thing I've seen in years - probably ever! My gut was sore from laughing so much, and I've been giggling about it ever since I woke up today! This is the new standard in a long line of comedy and cinema which includes Eddie Murphy Raw, Spinal Tap, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Pink Flamingos, etc... Who cares if they duped these people? If they didn't, it wouldn't be what it is! It's "Punked" on steroids, and I think it rocks! Enjoy it while you can, because gut splitting humor like this only comes around about every five to ten years or so!

2804 days ago
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