Rebel Wilson ‘Idolized’ Sacha Baron Cohen Before Alleged Harassment

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Actress and comedian Rebel Wilson reflected on how much admiration she had for Sacha Baron Cohen before they worked together on his film The Brothers Grimsby this week on Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert podcast.

Wilson said that prior to the incidents in her book that led her to call out Cohen, she had looked up to the actor. “Sacha was someone from a comedic perspective, I idolized,” Wilson said on Armchair Expert, “who I thought, oh my God, like hilarious,” citing the original Borat movie as a favorite. “He called me up one day and asked me to be in his movie,” she continued. “I thought like I’d hit the jackpot. I would’ve done it for free.”

This comes after Wilson leveled allegations against Cohen for being an “asshole” who asked her to “stick” her “finger up his butt.” When Wilson teased that she’d be naming Cohen in her memoir Rebel Rising, she accused the Borat star of trying to stop her book by threatening her through a “crisis PR manager and lawyers.”

Reps for Cohen previously told The Daily Beast, “While we appreciate the importance of speaking out, these demonstrably false claims are directly contradicted by extensive detailed evidence, including contemporaneous documents, film footage, and eyewitness accounts from those present before, during and after the production of The Brothers Grimsby.”

During her time on the podcast, Wilson said that her admiration for Cohen turned sour well before she started filming Grimsby with the actor. When she was preparing to host the MTV Movie Awards for the first time, Wilson floated some of her jokes and monologue ideas at a dinner party attended by Cohen and other comedians. “They’re like, ‘Get the jokes out and test it on us,’” Wilson said, recalling the party.

“I start doing the jokes about the movies that year and I can just see [Baron Cohen] not laughing,” she continued. “And there were other comedians there, but they were being more friendly, but Sacha was the one that I really idolized and so I was like—just seeing if he would laugh. And then I end my palm cards and he goes, ‘You’re in real serious trouble. You have nothing.’ And he had hosted the MTV Movie Awards. I was freaking out, which sent me on like a four day panic spiral where I got other comedians to write some jokes for me.”

Wilson said she questioned Cohen’s reaction after performing the same jokes elsewhere. “I ended up doing them at [Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre], but doing the same jokes I’d said in front of Sacha, but then all these kids laughed,” she said. “So then I was like, ‘Why did he do that?’ Because the jokes were good.”

That interaction with Cohen rubbed her the wrong way, but Wilson said she was still excited to be offered a role in Grimsby, until things went left once again. “It was maybe a year later when he asked me to be in his movie and to play his wife. And I go, ‘Wow, this is awesome,’” she said.

“I went down [to South Africa] and I was probably my heaviest at that point and dealing with things about my father, and I noticed he kind of got off on just making people in general feel uncomfortable,” she continued, before retelling her biggest accusation against Cohen—that he’d asked her to perform a sexual act on him in front of “his buddies.”

“Obviously it’s not for the movie,” she said about the incident, “There’s no camera crew, the sound crew, they’re off in a different part of the stadium filming the actual movie. So his buddies had iPhones and were filming the whole thing and I’m just horrified.”

Wilson also said that in addition to that moment, Cohen had made several comments and requests of her that made her feel “humiliated or degraded,” including laughing at other womens’ bodies and pressuring her into appearing nude in the film. When she was apprehensive about reshooting a “disgusting” sex scene for the movie, Wilson said she was told “There’s only five movie studios in town and we can ruin your reputation in all of them.”

Ultimately she said the only way she felt comfortable fighting back at the time was to not promote the film. Seeing the film flop, she said she “kind of felt that was karma enough.”

“It’s not like I’m seeking some revenge,” she continued. “I don’t feel like a victim in a way people who have been assaulted have. That was just the worst thing to have happened to me.”

This post was originally published on Daily Beast

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