An edit has been made to Sacha Baron Cohen’s new film – so Donald Trump gets infected with HIV in place of the Queen.
It was reported last year that an early edit of the ‘Borat’ comic’s new film ‘The Brothers Grimsby’ features a scene in which Daniel Radcliffe is shown infecting Queen Elizabeth II with HIV.
In response to criticism, the scene appears to have been altered for the final version coming to cinemas next week, showing Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump getting infected in place of the Queen.
The moment was apparently met with “loud cheering” at the film’s première this week, with one attendee noting: “A whole cinema clapped when Donald Trump got given AIDS”.
News reports in the film incorrectly state ‘Donald Trump has AIDS’, displaying a poor understanding of HIV/AIDS issues from the filmmakers. People newly-infected with HIV do not ‘have AIDS’, and it is incredibly unlikely that a person would ‘get AIDS’ straight after HIV infection.
The film uses body doubles and digital tricks to include Radcliffe and Trump, who are not involved in the production in any way. A legal disclaimer is also included, clarifying that neither Trump nor Radcliffe are HIV positive.
According to Huffington Post, the scene has caused a rift between Cohen and Sony execs, who are pushing to cut the scene prior to general release.
HuffPo reports that three industry sources confirmed: “Sony had made its displeasure clear and pushed to remove the scene, but Baron Cohen… has final authority over the film”.
The report adds: “Studio executives are nervous about angering the famously vengeful and litigious Trump, compounded by the possibility of getting on the wrong side of the possible next president.”
The National AIDS Trust previously spoke out against the “irresponsible” scene, with spokesperson Suzi Price telling PinkNews: The fact that HIV is used in this context, for shock value, is testimony to that fact that HIV is still seen as a punchline.
“The scene just wouldn’t work and wouldn’t garner this controversy if the Queen found out she had another long-term condition, such as diabetes or asthma.
“I hope if this scene does make the final cut Sacha Baron Cohen finds a way to address some of these complexities, but I’m not holding my breath.”