Rebel Wilson says she ‘felt shame’ over Sacha Baron Cohen ‘experience’

‘It is very hard to speak up against somebody in the public eye,’ the actor said

Lydia Spencer-Elliott
Thursday 02 May 2024 16:19 BST
Rebel Wilson makes admission as she addresses Sacha Baron Cohen

Rebel Wilson has addressed the controversy over including allegations against Sacha Baron Cohen in her memoir, Rebel Rising.

A redacted version of Wilson’s book was published in the UK last Thursday (25 April), after the unabridged edition was released in the US and other territories earlier last month.

Among the chapters is one titled “Sacha Baron Cohen and Other A**holes”, in which the Pitch Perfect star makes claims about Baron Cohen’s behaviour during the filming of their 2016 comedy Grimsby, which he has strongly denied.

Speaking on This Morning on Thursday (2 May), Wilson said she wanted to tell her “story” because she felt “shame” over the incident and hoped the writing process would offer catharsis.

“It did happen 10 years ago,” she claimed. “If I was the woman I am now, I would have left that set. I wouldn’t have continued. I felt a bit of shame about staying on that movie set.”

In the redacted version of Rebel Rising, Wilson makes reference to “the worst experience of my professional life. An incident that left me feeling bullied, humiliated and compromised.

“It can’t be printed here due to the peculiarities of the law in England and Wales,” she says. The rest of the page is redacted, with black lines also removing shorter details later in the chapter.

Rebel Wilson has adressed the allegations against Sacha Baron Cohen in her memoir ‘Rebel Rising’
Rebel Wilson has adressed the allegations against Sacha Baron Cohen in her memoir ‘Rebel Rising’ (Matt Baron/BEI/Shutterstock)

When asked about the redaction by This Morning host Ben Shephard, Wilson said: “Somebody with wealth and power can sometimes use laws to their advantage and that’s just the book publisher mitigating their risk.”

When Shepherd pointed out Baron Cohen had denied her allegations, The Pitch Perfect star replied: “It’s his right to say whatever he wants. I’m not about cancelling people.”

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Wilson added she was sharing her story “in hopes that this kind of stuff happens less in the industry” because she has “learnt first hand it is very hard to speak up against somebody in the public eye”.

Baron Cohen’s team declared the redacted version of Wilson’s memoir in the UK a “clear victory” claiming the star’s allegations were “defamatory”.

They wrote in a statement to Deadline : “Printing falsehoods is against the law in the UK and Australia; this is not a ‘peculiarity’ as Ms Wilson said, but a legal principle that has existed for many hundreds of years.

“This is a clear victory for Sacha Baron Cohen and confirms what we said from the beginning – that this is demonstrably false.”

In a statement given to The Independent in March, Baron Cohen’s representatives denied Wilson’s account, stating: “While we appreciate the importance of speaking out, these demonstrably false claims are directly contradicted by extensive detailed evidence, including contemporaneous documents, film footage, and eyewitness accounts from those present before, during and after the production of The Brothers Grimsby.

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