Sacha Baron Cohen gave $200 to Roy Moore’s anti-LGBT foundation to secure interview
Borat star Sacha Baron Cohen is facing questions over revelations that his show donated $200 to an anti-LGBT group run by the wife of disgraced Alabama politician Roy Moore to secure a TV interview with him.
The donation to the hardline advocacy group Foundation for Moral Law was part of an agreement to secure an undercover interview with failed Republican Senate candidate Moore on Showtime’s political prank show Who Is America?, court documents revealed.
The details only emerged as Moore, who has faced allegations of child sex abuse that ultimately thwarted his Senate race last year, is pursuing legal action over a joke in the interview which featured a fake ‘paedophile detector.’
The Hollywood Reporter notes that a consent agreement signed ahead of the interview, made public as a result of the court case, shows that the show’s producers agreed to make a donation to a non-profit chosen by Moore.
The show’s executive producer, Todd Schulman, confirmed in a court declaration: “Judge Moore entered into the Consent Agreement ‘in exchange for the Producer making a $200 donation to a charity chosen by the Participant and allowing an opportunity for the Participant to appear in a television series.’
“On February 20, 2018, a Production Company employee made a donation of $200 using Production Company funds to the Foundation for Moral Law, Inc. on behalf of YTV.”
YTV refers to Yerushalayim Television, a shell company that the Cohen set up as part of his undercover efforts, of which he was “the ultimate sole owner,” according to the documents.
The Foundation for Moral Law, which was founded by Roy Moore in 2003 and is currently headed by his wife Kayla Moore, is strongly opposed to LGBT+ rights.
In April 2017, the group lobbied against the nomination of an “ungodly” lesbian to head the US Air Force Academy, claiming her sexuality “does not set a proper moral example for youth.”
Taking exception to the candidate’s same-sex marriage, Moore’s foundation claimed: “Because homosexual relationships are unnatural, they are incompatible with the basic structure of civil society and the historic antecedents of military order and discipline.”
The foundation routinely makes interventions in LGBT+ court cases to caution against homosexuality.
It has lobbied in favour of gay ‘cure’ therapy, claiming in a 2013 court brief that homosexual conduct is “wrong, immoral, unhealthy and destructive” while supporting “the authority of parents to make decisions for their children, including the decision to pursue conversion therapy.”
In 2011 it campaigned to keep a ban on gay people serving in the military, citing the “well-documented health hazards and medical costs associated with the homosexual lifestyle.”
The foundation even claimed that Lawrence v Texas, the 2003 US Supreme Court ruling that decriminalised sodomy across the United States, was a “radical departure from the common law tradition” and insisted that “this recently-discovered court-created ‘right’ should therefore be construed narrowly and should be analysed according to the normal ‘rational basis’ standard.”
Moore served as Alabama’s elected Chief Justice from 2001 until 2003, when he was booted out of office for misconduct. He again served as Chief Justice from 2013 to 2016, when he was again removed for misconduct,
The justice was found to have abused his power by an ethics investigation in 2016, after he led a crusade to block gay weddings in the state.
After the US Supreme Court approved equal marriage, Moore claimed the ruling “doesn’t apply” in Alabama and ordered probate judges to continue to enforce a gay marriage ban.
He was ejected from the role in September 2016 after being found guilty of six different conduct violations as a result of his actions.
Alabama Republicans picked Moore as their candidate for US Senate in 2017, but he was ultimately defeated by Democrat Doug Jones after the sexual abuse allegations came to light.