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In hindsight, did Borat 2 violate campaign laws?

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  • In hindsight, did Borat 2 violate campaign laws?

    Sacha Baron Cohen is a UK citizen. That means he's a foreign national.



    Source: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2021/feb/19/sacha-baron-cohen-borat-trial-chicago-7-facebook-trump

    Hence Borat 2. Its mission – to sway voters in advance of the presidential election – was baked into the concept. Baron Cohen told prospective crew members: “‘We are concerned about what will happen if Trump wins and want to make this movie as a protest. Would you join us?’” If they were risking violence or imprisonment, it was helpful they knew there was more at stake than slapstick.

    Borat Subsequent Moviefilm was released 10 days before polls closed. Did it work? Perhaps. The Biden team were, reports Baron Cohen, “very happy” about the footage of Rudy Giuliani horizontal on a hotel bed, hand down his trousers. Trump’s personal attorney had already been booked on countless news shows to peddle tales of Hunter Biden’s laptop.

    “Suddenly he was having to try to explain that he wasn’t playing with himself. It was such a close election that everything in those final weeks was crucial.” Giuliani was discredited. But he wasn’t destroyed; his behaviour on-brand enough for Trump to stick with him.

    Everything was intentional, says Baron Cohen. It was crucial that the film’s “fairy godmother” – Tutar’s babysitter, Jeanise, appalled by Borat, who teaches Tutar self-worth – was a woman of colour. “We knew that ultimately it would be women and people of colour who would swing the vote.”

    ...

    And then, in the end, “I didn’t feel I had a choice. If social media wasn’t reformed, Trump would definitely win. Because he could only do so by propagating lies about voter fraud, the danger of certain ethnic minorities, of violence, of the Black Lives Matter movement, of Antifa.

    “I thought I would feel really upset with myself on November 4th if I hadn’t done my tiny bit to try to stop Trump getting reelected and dismantling American democracy into something similar to what we see in Russia and Turkey. And I felt that other populists would do the same around the world.”

    © Copyright Original Source



    The question I have is that this is a foreign national, admitting to deliberately trying to influence the US election. Beyond the general slickness of his long campaign ad, what's really the difference between him and Russia?

  • #2
    Originally posted by CivilDiscourse View Post
    Sacha Baron Cohen is a UK citizen. That means he's a foreign national.



    Source: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2021/feb/19/sacha-baron-cohen-borat-trial-chicago-7-facebook-trump

    Hence Borat 2. Its mission – to sway voters in advance of the presidential election – was baked into the concept. Baron Cohen told prospective crew members: “‘We are concerned about what will happen if Trump wins and want to make this movie as a protest. Would you join us?’” If they were risking violence or imprisonment, it was helpful they knew there was more at stake than slapstick.

    Borat Subsequent Moviefilm was released 10 days before polls closed. Did it work? Perhaps. The Biden team were, reports Baron Cohen, “very happy” about the footage of Rudy Giuliani horizontal on a hotel bed, hand down his trousers. Trump’s personal attorney had already been booked on countless news shows to peddle tales of Hunter Biden’s laptop.

    “Suddenly he was having to try to explain that he wasn’t playing with himself. It was such a close election that everything in those final weeks was crucial.” Giuliani was discredited. But he wasn’t destroyed; his behaviour on-brand enough for Trump to stick with him.

    Everything was intentional, says Baron Cohen. It was crucial that the film’s “fairy godmother” – Tutar’s babysitter, Jeanise, appalled by Borat, who teaches Tutar self-worth – was a woman of colour. “We knew that ultimately it would be women and people of colour who would swing the vote.”

    ...

    And then, in the end, “I didn’t feel I had a choice. If social media wasn’t reformed, Trump would definitely win. Because he could only do so by propagating lies about voter fraud, the danger of certain ethnic minorities, of violence, of the Black Lives Matter movement, of Antifa.

    “I thought I would feel really upset with myself on November 4th if I hadn’t done my tiny bit to try to stop Trump getting reelected and dismantling American democracy into something similar to what we see in Russia and Turkey. And I felt that other populists would do the same around the world.”

    © Copyright Original Source



    The question I have is that this is a foreign national, admitting to deliberately trying to influence the US election. Beyond the general slickness of his long campaign ad, what's really the difference between him and Russia?
    Are you suggesting that Sasha Baron Cohen violated US campaign law? As I understand it, all he did was make a movie and sell it to Amazon.

    I suppose that Amazon could be accused of violating US campaign law, but in the face of Citizens United, that seems like a hard sell.

    Comment


    • #3
      As far as Russian trolling on social media, no difference. It appears a lot of that was private and not sanctioned by the Russian government anyway. And even if it was 100% government sanctioned, there is no international law to forbid the activity. Heck, the US government meddles in foreign elections all the time to the same degree.

      As far as Russian election meddling, I understand the government is linked to attempts to hack state/local election equipment. So that would be the difference (IMO)

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Stoic View Post

        Are you suggesting that Sasha Baron Cohen violated US campaign law? As I understand it, all he did was make a movie and sell it to Amazon.

        I suppose that Amazon could be accused of violating US campaign law, but in the face of Citizens United, that seems like a hard sell.
        Well if you go through the article, he was making an attack ad designed to influence the election against Trump. In many ways it's similar to what russian bots were doing. Unless you think the fact that he sold it to a company first negates that.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by CivilDiscourse View Post

          Well if you go through the article, he was making an attack ad designed to influence the election against Trump. In many ways it's similar to what russian bots were doing. Unless you think the fact that he sold it to a company first negates that.
          I don't believe any Russians were indicted for violating campaign laws. They were indicted for things like defrauding the US, fraud, identity theft, and money laundering.

          Do you think Cohen was guilty of any of those things?

          Comment


          • #6
            I think what would be illegal is if a foreign person actually works directly for a US campaign. If they could show that say, Biden's campaign contributed money to the movie, or if they had secret meetings telling the movie's producers what to do, or giving them the Rudi footage. I don't think there is any laws saying a foreign private citizen can't voice their opinion or make a movie influencing people politically.

            Which is why I think Hillary should be in jail right now, they paid for a false report created by a foreign spy and used that to try to keep Trump from being elected.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Ronson View Post
              As far as Russian trolling on social media, no difference. It appears a lot of that was private and not sanctioned by the Russian government anyway. And even if it was 100% government sanctioned, there is no international law to forbid the activity. Heck, the US government meddles in foreign elections all the time to the same degree.

              As far as Russian election meddling, I understand the government is linked to attempts to hack state/local election equipment. So that would be the difference (IMO)
              Even more so. And I'm not just talking about overthrowing governments like was commonly done in the mid 20th century, but rather like how Obama sent advisors and federal money to Israel in an attempt to oust that country's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

              I'm always still in trouble again

              "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
              "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by CivilDiscourse View Post
                Sacha Baron Cohen is a UK citizen. That means he's a foreign national.

                The question I have is that this is a foreign national, admitting to deliberately trying to influence the US election. Beyond the general slickness of his long campaign ad, what's really the difference between him and Russia?
                Nothing AFAICT. But I don't think he violated any campaign laws, because they don't apply to him. Any US citizen who requested Cohen's unpaid assistance would have violated US campaign finance laws, but Cohen himself would not.
                Jorge: Functional Complex Information is INFORMATION that is complex and functional.

                mikewhitney: What if the speed of light changed when light is passing through water? ... I have 3 semesters of college Physics.

                Mountain Man: First of all, the Bible is a fixed document.
                Mountain Man: … this is how liberals argue these days, with labels instead of ideas.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Sparko View Post
                  Which is why I think Hillary should be in jail right now, they paid for a false report created by a foreign spy and used that to try to keep Trump from being elected.
                  I've read the relevant statute. "Pair for" is permitted. "Asked for as a favour" is not.

                  Jorge: Functional Complex Information is INFORMATION that is complex and functional.

                  mikewhitney: What if the speed of light changed when light is passing through water? ... I have 3 semesters of college Physics.

                  Mountain Man: First of all, the Bible is a fixed document.
                  Mountain Man: … this is how liberals argue these days, with labels instead of ideas.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
                    Even more so. And I'm not just talking about overthrowing governments like was commonly done in the mid 20th century, but rather like how Obama sent advisors and federal money to Israel in an attempt to oust that country's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
                    And like Hillary Clinton's comments to protesters in Moscow in 2012. At the time she was US Secretary of State, so she represented our government. She called the Russian election rigged, and it infuriated Putin.***

                    https://www.politico.com/story/2016/...n-putin-226153

                    So along comes Hillary Clinton: Presidential Candidate in 2016, and Russia is found meddling in the US election against her. Surprising? Not really. At least, not in the world of tit-for-tat.

                    ***I am not commenting on whether or not the Russian election was rigged or not. It probably was. But is it the business of the US government to be involved in such a way and then complain when it comes back to bite us?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Roy View Post
                      I've read the relevant statute. "Pair for" is permitted. "Asked for as a favour" is not.
                      um what? You can pay for a foreign agent to work for your campaign, but they can't work for you for free? That doesn't make sense.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Sparko View Post
                        um what? You can pay for a foreign agent to work for your campaign, but they can't work for you for free? That doesn't make sense.
                        It makes sense if you consider that working for 'free' can mean either that the foreign agent (and hence your campaign) is promoting the interests of their country, not yours; or the foreign agent is garnering favours to be repaid if the campaign is successful.

                        Jorge: Functional Complex Information is INFORMATION that is complex and functional.

                        mikewhitney: What if the speed of light changed when light is passing through water? ... I have 3 semesters of college Physics.

                        Mountain Man: First of all, the Bible is a fixed document.
                        Mountain Man: … this is how liberals argue these days, with labels instead of ideas.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by CivilDiscourse View Post

                          Well if you go through the article, he was making an attack ad designed to influence the election against Trump. In many ways it's similar to what russian bots were doing. Unless you think the fact that he sold it to a company first negates that.
                          I doubt the film was even watched by most Trump supporters. It did delightfully send some of them up and it also attacked some entrenched taboos. I read [somewhere] that it was the first film Sasha Baron Cohen had made where he'd felt it necessary to wear a bullet proof vest during filming.

                          However, it showed some Trump supporters in a very positive light. The two survivalist, despite their crackpot beliefs, took in a stranger [Borat] during the lockdown and they also seemed genuinely concerned in helping him find his "daughter", thereby demonstrating that "kindness to strangers" can still exist amongst the oddest and most eccentric of characters.
                          "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful" Attrib. Seneca 4 BCE - 65 CE

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post

                            I doubt the film was even watched by most Trump supporters. It did delightfully send some of them up and it also attacked some entrenched taboos. I read [somewhere] that it was the first film Sasha Baron Cohen had made where he'd felt it necessary to wear a bullet proof vest during filming.

                            However, it showed some Trump supporters in a very positive light. The two survivalist, despite their crackpot beliefs, took in a stranger [Borat] during the lockdown and they also seemed genuinely concerned in helping him find his "daughter", thereby demonstrating that "kindness to strangers" can still exist amongst the oddest and most eccentric of characters.
                            That is largely irrelevant to the question brought up

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by CivilDiscourse View Post

                              That is largely irrelevant to the question brought up
                              If most Trump supporters probably never watched the film in what way do you consider it violated campaign laws?
                              "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful" Attrib. Seneca 4 BCE - 65 CE

                              Comment

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