On Friday, after Twitter announced President Trump’s account was permanently banned and Facebook stated that Trump would be barred from its platforms for an indefinite amount of time, “Borat” star Sacha Baron Cohen pronounced on Twitter, “This is the most important moment in the history of social media.”
Baron Cohen added, “The world’s largest platforms have banned the world’s biggest purveyor of lies, conspiracies and hate. To every Facebook and Twitter employee, user and advocate who fought for this–the entire world thanks you!”
After the November presidential election, Baron Cohen targeted Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, tweeting a photo of Zuckerberg shaking hands with Trump at the White House and captioning the tweet, “One down. One to go.”
In November 2019, CNBC reported that Baron Cohen told the Anti-Defamation League:
Think about it. Facebook, YouTube and Google, Twitter and others — they reach billions of people. The algorithms these platforms depend on deliberately amplify the type of content that keeps users engaged — stories that appeal to our baser instincts and that trigger outrage and fear. It’s why YouTube recommended videos by the conspiracist Alex Jones billions of times. It’s why fake news outperforms real news, because studies show that lies spread faster than truth. And it’s no surprise that the greatest propaganda machine in history has spread the oldest conspiracy theory in history — the lie that Jews are somehow dangerous.
He added, “Under this twisted logic, if Facebook were around in the 1930s, it would have allowed Hitler to post 30-second ads on his ‘solution’ to the ‘Jewish problem.’ So, here’s a good standard and practice: Facebook, start fact-checking political ads before you run them, stop micro-targeted lies immediately, and when the ads are false, give back the money and don’t publish them.”
Two months later, referencing a report in The Guardian that examined how the Trump campaign used Facebook, he tweeted, “Terrifying. 218,000 political ads on Facebook—many with lies and hate – seen by voters perhaps 1.3 BILLION times. And Facebook profits/ #Mark Zuckerberg, history will judge you harshly – if we still have historians after you help destroy democracy!”
In mid-2018, a video obtained by a California Fox affiliate showed a gun store owner exposing Baron Cohen as he tried to deceive the owner, posing as a “Hungarian immigrant.” As The Daily Wire reported:
Warrior One Guns & Ammo owner Norris Sweidan told Fox 11that Cohen’s crew met with him ahead of Cohen’s “sting,” and told him they were filming a documentary about a “Hungarian immigrant wanting to buy a gun.” Sweidan picked up on the ruse right away, he says. “He comes in, off the bat you can see in the video I’m looking like, this guy does not look like a Hungarian immigrant, tight a** leather pants, a beard, it just didn’t fit,” Sweidan told local media. “The moment his words came out of his mouth I was like, ‘this guy is full of s***.’”
Apparently, Cohen, who was in disguise, kept changing his accent, a clue to Sweidan that the “documentary” crew might be trying to embarrass him and, by extension, American gun buyers and owners. When Sweidan called Cohen out, he says, Cohen hightailed it out of his shop.
“I’m looking at the producer and I’m just like, ‘am I being fooled right here?’” Sweidan said. “And I just kept looking at the guy and I was like, ‘you’re Borat’; as soon as I said that his eyes just looked at me like, and he did a turn right out the door.” Cohen, Sweidan said, left his crew to clean up the mess.
“We’re talking to the people they don’t wanna give us an answer, we basically told them to get the f*** out, ‘you guys are all full of s***, have a great day, get out,’” Sweidan told Fox 11. “Once I knew it was Borat, we already know his game and his bull*****, so we knew he’s here to make a mockery, and of what? Gun owners? The gun business, gun shops.”