A US politician has resigned from the Georgia house of representatives after appearing on Sacha Baron Cohen’s TV mockumentary Who Is America?
During his appearance in the second episode of the satirical series, Jason Spencer imitates a Chinese tourist, shouts the n-word and runs around backwards with bare buttocks out.
Despite initially resisting calls for his resignation, Mr Spencer sent an email to the speaker of the house confirming he would be leaving his role at the end of the month.
He was due to leave his seat in May, after being defeated in the Republican primary, but had intended to serve his remaining five months in the role.
In an email, the text of which was later sent to the Washington Post, Mr Spencer wrote: “This email/letter is to serve as an official resignation notice to your office that I will be resigning my post effective 31 July 2018.”
Speaker David Ralston had previously called Mr Spencer’s actions and language “reprehensible”, and told CNN “Georgia is better than this”.
Mr Spencer was duped by one of Baron Cohen’s new creations, Israeli military expert Captain Erran Morad.
Under the pretence of making a counter-terrorism video, the Georgia politician was trained how to use a selfie stick to “identify a terrorist under a burka”.
While taking what amounted to an upskirt photo, he mimicked a Chinese tourist.
In a second section called “How to stop a kidnapping” Mr Spencer loudly shouted the n-word several times to “attract attention”.
In a final show-stopping demonstration titled “Using your buttocks to intimidate ISIS”, he pulled down his pants and attempted to touch his bottom on Baron Cohen, who was standing behind him holding a boxing pad.
While completing the exercise Mr Spencer yelled “USA” and “I’ll touch you, I’ll make you a homosexual”.
Mr Spencer has since apologised for his behaviour and said he “deeply regrets” the language he used.
In a previous statement to The Washington Post, Mr Spencer said Baron Cohen “took advantage of my paralysing fear that my family would be attacked”.
Boker tov. I have been inform elected official & all-round mensch I meet, Jason Spencer, have somehow been portray in bad light by Showtime. To reveal the truth, here is the unedited film. Do not worry Jason Shpenker, Erran Morad have got your backsidehttps://t.co/Tnj7lX8zf5
— Colonel Erran Morad (@ErranMorad) July 23, 2018
In 2016 Mr Spencer introduced a legislation that would have banned Muslim women from wearing burqas in public, after which he said he received death threats.
Mr Spencer is not the only high-profile US politician to have fallen foul of Baron Cohen’s humour.
After a trailer for the show was released, right-wing news aggregation website chief Matt Drudge tweeted the warning: “Sacha Baron Cohen at it again!”
The Drudge Report creator went on: “This time for CBS/SHOWTIME. Lots of tricks played. Both Republicans and Democrats are getting caught up in the madness. Sacha has finked Cheney, Palin, Howard Dean, Alberto Gonzales, Bernie, Trent Lott, Patraeus, Ted Koppel, and more… BEWARE!”
After being pranked by Baron Cohen, former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin accused the British comedian of “evil, exploitative, sick humour”.
She said she had believed Baron Cohen’s character to be a disabled US veteran.
Who Is America? airs on Showtime in the US and Channel 4 in the UK, at 10pm on Sundays.