COBB COUNTY, Ga — UPDATE: A Fulton County judge dismissed the initial lawsuit because it was filed in the wrong jurisdiction. Michelle Dim St. Pierre says she now plans to file another lawsuit in the correct jurisdiction.
The latest Borat film called, “Borat Subsequent Movie Film”, began streaming this past Friday on Amazon Prime, and the daughter of a late Holocaust survivor whose likeness is featured in the film is suing.
Michelle Dim St. Pierre claimed in the lawsuit that the producers duped her mother, tricking her into thinking that she was being interviewed for a Holocaust documentary.
Judith Dim Evans, 87, a Holocaust survivor who immigrated to Israel, fought for independence before moving her family to the United States, according to St. Pierre.
“My mother is a person that would never be participating in this and would never play the game if she would know what it was about. She was an incredible woman and very intelligent," St. Pierre said. “But this is bigger than my mom. I do think I’m fighting here not only for my mom, but for the entire Jewish community, particularly the Holocaust survivors.”
Channel 2′s Michael Seiden spoke with St. Pierre, who said they paid for Evans to travel to Temple Kol Emeth in East Cobb for the interview. Her mom said she had a bad feeling about the interview.
“She told me what happened, and I tried to convince her that I’m sure everything’s okay,” St Pierre explained. “I told her I don’t believe anyone in the world would put the Holocaust and comedy together. It’s unheard of."
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St. Pierre filed the lawsuit earlier this month in Fulton County Superior Court, accusing Sacha Baron Cohen and his team of interviewing Evans about the Holocaust “under false pretenses with the intent of appropriating her likeness.”
She did not consent to the commercial use of her likeness, according to St. Pierre. She wants the scene removed.
“First of all, the fact that he’s Jewish doesn’t give him any rights to do what he’s doing,” St Pierre said. “She would fight. She would fight him. She would fight the action that he took.”
“I can tell you one thing, that the signature on this release form is not my mother’s signature,” she said.
Channel 2′s Michael Seiden spoke with Darryl Cohen, an Atlanta-based entertainment lawyer, to get his take on the lawsuit and find out if it’s really possible for a judge to order producers to take the scene out of the movie.
“From a legal standpoint, if they told her X and it turns out it was Y, then absolutely,” said Darryl Cohen. “But once again I revert back to the signed release. ‘Was it all encompassing? Did she sign it or did she not? Was it a forgery or was it not?’ That’s what counts. From there, there could be solid legal ground or none at all.”
Amazon Prime Video and Oak Springs Production did not give a comment, but the movie was dedicated to Evans. For her family, however, the damage has already been done.
“It makes me feel worse,” she added. “When you dedicate any intellectual property, it’s insinuated that you have a relationship with the person you dedicate and that you both like each other. That’s not the case.”
Cox Media Group