The makers of the film Borat are being sued once again, this time by Michael Psenicska, the driving instructor in the movie. Psenicska claims he was misled when he was told that he would be participating in a documentary about how immigrants integrate into U.S. life. He is seeking $100,000 in compensatory damages and unspecified punitive damages. A spokesman for Twentieth Century Fox said that Psenicska willfully signed a consent form. Borat was made for $18 million and has grossed $260 million worldwide.
What the commentators said
Well, at least these lawsuits finally end the debate over whether the people in Borat really were “as clueless as they appeared,” said Carli Stephens-Rothman in the blog andPop, and not “just actors or eager civilians let in on the joke.” It’s strange that Psenicska is suing, though: “He was one of the only misinformed participants who was actually depicted in a favorable light.”
Geez, the producers of Borat “just can’t catch a break,” said the blog Hollyscoop.com. “Everyone in that movie is sue happy.” But isn’t it obvious what’s going on here? “They saw an opportunity for a quick buck and jumped on the bandwagon.”
Come on, Psenicska “went through quite a bit for the supposed documentary,” said Jane Ivory in the blog eFluxMedia. “He is shown in the movie struggling to cope with the chaotic Borat, who busies himself drinking alcohol, yelling at people and driving the vehicle erratically.” And all Psenicska “reportedly” got paid for his trouble was $500.
Let’s just hope Psenicska doesn’t win the lawsuit, said Stuart Heritage in the blog Heckler Spray. “If he were to win damages it would set a precedent that everyone else who Sacha Baron Cohen"—a/k/a 'Borat'—"has ever even spoken to would follow.” And that would be a disaster, because it “could change the dramatic structure of” Cohen’s “forthcoming Bruno film, too.”