Sarah Palin ended up on the cutting room floor. The former Alaska governor, who made headlines last month when she blasted Sacha Baron Cohen and Showtime for tricking her into a phony interview, was not included in the series finale for Cohen’s prank series, Who Is America?
In July, Palin revealed that she had been “duped” by Cohen when he interviewed her disguised as a disabled veteran, Dr. Billy Wayne Ruddick. In a lengthy Facebook post, Palin wrote, “I join a long list of American public personalities who have fallen victim to the evil, exploitive, sick ‘humor’ of the British ‘comedian’ Sacha Baron Cohen, enabled and sponsored by CBS/Showtime.”
Palin went on to explain that she thought she was contributing to a “legit Showtime historical documentary” about American war veterans but was instead interviewed by a heavily disguised Cohen. Once she realized she was being pranked, a furious Palin walked out of the interview.
The former Alaska governor challenged Cohen to air the embarrassing footage, which she predicted would be “heavily edited, not pretty, and intended to humiliate.” Instead, Cohen and co. opted not to air the segment at all.
At the Television Critics Association press tour earlier this summer, Showtime programming president Gary Levine hinted to that Palin might not make the cut. Per the Daily Mail, Levine revealed that “there are several people who have thrown themselves into buses that may not be heading their way” and that Cohen’s “high bar” would prevent from segments into making the final cut of the show.
“Sacha is very hardworking and selective in [creating] the final product. He’s always refining it. We’ll see.”
When asked whether Palin’s appearance was being blocked for legal reasons, Levine was vague.
“Sacha is refining stuff right up to the moment it goes on the air.” the Showtime exec said. “He screens stuff for audiences. It all feels off the cuff but it’s remarkably researched.”
While Palin’s segment didn’t air on Who Is America?, Cohen did give her a credit as the show’s “Special Publicity Consultant (Inadvertent).”
Sarah Palin was the first major figure to come out with a story about being duped by Sacha Baron Cohen, ultimately giving the controversial Showtime series a ton of free publicity just ahead of its premiere. After Palin spoke out, others came forward with stories about how they were set up by Cohen, including former CNN contributor Jeffrey Lord and California gun store owner Norris Sweidan.
Sarah Palin has not commented on her “lost” segment on Sacha Baron Cohen’s Who Is America? The former Alaska governor’s recent statements on social media have instead been about the death of her 2008 presidential running mate, John McCain.