Whether you love him or hate him, there’s no denying that Sacha Baron Cohen gets results.
The latest proof we have is a stunt that saw the comedian – a word that really fails to capture the extent of Cohen’s schtick – take the stage at a rally put together by a right-wing militia group. He sang an overtly racist protest-style song and got the enthusiastic crowd to sing along. That’s how he rolls.
The rally was put together by a militia group that call themselves the Washington Three Percenters. The “three percenter” thing is a reference to what the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as a “dubious” claim “that only 3 percent of American colonists fought against the British during the War of Independence.” The definition appears in SPLC’s rundown of “antigovernment movements.”
As confirmed by Variety, Cohen apparently disguised himself as the head of a political action committee that stepped in as a donor to sponsor the event. That gave him and his people control of event security, meaning he was able to remain on stage even after the event’s organizers realized something was amiss.
Sacha Baron Cohen infiltrated the Washington militia event in Olympia today.
A last-minute big donor paid to sponsor the event, and hire security & then that security kept the organizers from getting on stage to stop Cohen
“Whatcha gonna do? Chop em up like the Saudis do”.
— Justice for Floyd ➡️ I Can’t Breathe (@InsideASCIF) June 28, 2020
Cohen used his time on stage to sing a call-and-response kind of song in which he exhorted the crowd to join in on his calls to “inject” various public figures – including Barack Obama, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and others – with the “Wuhan flu.” (That term is one of several racist depictions of COVID-19 that Donald Trump and his adherents have embraced.)
In an interview conducted after Cohen’s stunt, one of the event’s organizers laid out the whole story. He also places the blame, without evidence, on Washington State’s Democratic party, and Gov. Jay Inslee specifically, because… why not?
While the organizer decries Cohen’s “racist” song, he fails to mention the fact that event attendees enthusiastically joined in on the call-and-response. He also conveniently overlooks the fact that Cohen’s whole thing is to catch the targets of his commentary-focused humor off guard by slipping into various roles that get them comfortable enough to let their inner truths fly.
Is it duplicitous? Sure! That’s the whole point. In his 2018 Showtime series Who is America?, Cohen put his particular creative approach to good use in getting public figures the head of a pro-gun group and a conservative (in fact, racist) politician to willingly show their own asses.
There’s some suspicion that this latest stunt is meant to be part of an eventual second season for the Showtime series. The cable network hasn’t said anything about future plans for the show since the first season ended, though, so this could just be Cohen doing his thing for shits and giggles and social media virality.