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Bruno star Sasha Baron Cohen sued for allegedly leaving woman wheelchair bound after stunt at bingo contest

PinkNews Staff Writer June 4, 2009
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A case has been filed in the the Los Angeles Superior Court against comic Sasha Baron Cohen. He is accused of leaving a woman wheelchair bound as a result of a stunt while playing gay fashion reporter Bruno.

Richelle Olsen was hosting a charity bingo tournament in Palmdale, California when Baron Cohen dressed as Bruno allegedly grabbed the microphone and used vulgarities in front of the audience of pensioners.

In the tussle that follows, Ms Olson claims Baron Cohen’s film crew surrounded and “attacked” her in an attempt to “create a dramatic, emotional response”.

Her lawsuit claims that when she ran off she hit her head on a concrete slab which caused bleeding within her brain. Her lawyers say that she now has to use a walking stick or a wheelchair as a result of the incident.

The suit also claims that Baron Cohen makes use of thirty intermediary companies that set-up stunts for him. One company apparently identified him to the bingo tournament as a celebrity making a documentary about bingo.

NBC Universal who commissioned and distribute the film ‘Bruno’ has been named as a co-defendant in the case although reports suggest it is unclear if the incident is to be included.

Neither party are commenting on the case.

In April a Republican candidate for last year’s US presidential election, Ron Paul, revealed how he was lured into a hotel room by Cohen after being convinced that he was to be interviewed on Austrian economics.

Cohen then started to strip in front of him.

Mr Paul told America’s ABC Radio: “We were in a studio situation, I wasn’t invited into a hotel room. There were lots of lights and blaze and commotion and they said we better get in this back room which had been fixed up as a bedroom.

“By the time he [Cohen] started pulling his pants down, I was like what on earth is going on here and I ran out of the room. This interview had ended.”

He continued: “I don’t like the way he lies his way into interviews. That to me is fraud.

“He has raunchy material people buy into … it’s sort of sad that it’s a reflection of our culture. It’s a real shame people are gonna reward him with millions and millions of dollars for being so crass.”

Mr Paul is a notable opponent of gay marriage, having said in 2004: “Many Americans understandably fear that if gay marriage is legalised in one state, all other states will be forced to accept such marriages.”

The film is released next month.

Related topics: Americas

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