Monday, June 8, 2009

'B Rude...B-R-U-N-O!'

No sooner has the dust-up at the MTV Movie Awards show involving rapper Eminem and comic actor Sacha Baron Cohen, in his guise as gay fashionista "Bruno," been exposed as a staged prank, than a real, but no less wacky, lawsuit has been brought against Bruno in Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles by a married couple.

Richelle Olson and Lance Olson sued Cohen, NBC Universal, and Cold Stream Productions, LLC, among other defendants, in an 11-count complaint that includes claims alleging assault, battery, negligence, emotional distress and loss of consortium (Case No. MCO20465) arising from an incident that occurred in 2007. Mrs. Olson, executive director of Desert Valley Charities, staged a charity BINGO event for an elderly audience in Palmdale, Calif., at which Cohen appeared as Bruno and proceeded to call a game, allegedly spewing vulgar and offensive language.

What best can be described as "Extreme Contact BINGO" ensued, as Mrs. Olson allegedly was knocked to the ground as she tried to wrest the microphone from Cohen, and subjected to the "humiliation and embarrassment" of being filmed by Cohen's camera crew. The complaint alleges that while sobbing uncontrollably in a room nearby, Mrs. Olson lost consciousness and fell, striking her head on a concrete slab. Mrs. Olson, 39, alleges that she sustained two "brain bleeds" and must now use a walker and a wheelchair.

Meanwhile, NBC Universal has fired back at what it branded a "frivolous" suit, claiming footage of the incident proves that Cohen never touched Mrs. Olson. Cohen was the target of a handful of lawsuits by individuals who claimed they were harmed by the actions of Cohen in his guise as "Borat."

Cohen's film version of his "Bruno" character opens in theaters July 10 and is unlikely to generate as many laughs as the lawsuit.

1 comment:

  1. Ms. Olsen agrees to let Sascha Baron Cohen of "Borat" fame appear in character at her bingo game as part of his next movie and was shocked by the results? That's like a corrupt CEO inviting MIke Wallace to a shareholder's meeting and being shocked when it appears on Sixty Minutes.

    Ms. Olsen passes out while crying and sustains a traumatic brain injury that results in loss of both momentum (wheelchair) and consortium (never mind.) Have you ever passed out while crying? Know anyone who has?

    Was Ms.Olsen having consortium before the incident? If not, she can't claim damages.(She gets our sympathy, but no damages.) On the other hand, let's say she's booking some serious consortium before the incident, I don't think evidence is out of the question, do you? What that might be, I'm not sure, but I think it's called for. Suppose Ms. Olsen wins her case. How do you compensate for loss of consortium? I've tried - in my time- to compensate for lack of it and that defines "doomed to failure."