Boy, people love money don't they? This week has already seen its share of ridiculous lawsuits, but this one, another stemming from Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, seems particularly frivolous. You know the guy who runs away from Sacha Baron Cohen when "Borat" tries to hug him on the streets of New York? The one who is seen, as court documents put it, "fleeing in apparent terror, screaming for Mr. Cohen to 'go away'?" Well, that guy is suing 20th Century Fox, seeking "unspecified damages." He claims the filmmakers used his likeness without his consent, "causing emotional damage that he continues to suffer." Referred to as "John Doe" in the suit, but outed as 31 year-old Jeffrey Lemerond at thesmokinggun, Lemerond has apparently been in a permanent state of "public ridicule, degradation, and humiliation." Riiight.
This is, of course, not the first time the makers of Borat have been sued. The two frat boys who were shown in the film drinking heavily and being racist morons had their suit thrown out back in February (thank God). In November, two residents of a Romanian village sued Fox for $30 million, claiming the Kazakhstan scenes in the film, shot in Romania, depicted them as "rapists, abortionists, prostitutes and thieves." A man in South Carolina sued over a bathroom scene that didn't even make it into the film. Lemerond's scene was in the Borat trailer, where his face was pixilated. His face was visible in the film itself. Lemerond filed, and immediately withdrew, a nearly identical suit in January -- that one listed director Larry Charles, producer Jay Roach, and Cohen as defendants. His current suit names only 20th Century Fox. Lemerond has not asked for a specific dollar amount, but doesn't hesitate to point out the huge box office grosses and DVD sales of the film. I wonder what, if any, effect these suits are having on gathering footage for the planned Bruno movie?