Sacha Baron Cohen’s team reacts to Rebel Wilson’s redacted memoir in UK

Actors worked together on the 2016 film ‘Grimsby’

Nicole Vassell
Thursday 25 April 2024 10:26 BST
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Sacha Baron Cohen’s legal team has declared the redacted UK release of Rebel Wilson’s memoir in the UK a “clear victory”, following her allegations of “disrespectful” behaviour on set.

Wilson’s book, Rebel Rising, was published in the UK on Thursday (25 April), following its release in the US and other territories earlier this 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.

However, the UK version does not include details of Wilson’s allegations of Baron Cohen’s behaviour, as expressed in full in the US version of the book.

Instead, it includes a 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,” Wilson writes.

The rest of the page is redacted, with black lines also removing shorter details elsewhere in the chapter.

In response to the book’s UK release, Baron Cohen’s legal team has deemed this decision by publishers HarperCollins a vindication, following the Borat creator’s strong denial of Wilson’s claims.

Sacha Baron Cohen and Rebel Wilson
Sacha Baron Cohen and Rebel Wilson (Getty)

“HarperCollins did not fact check this chapter in the book prior to publication and took the sensible but terribly belated step of deleting Rebel Wilson’s defamatory claims once presented with evidence that they were false,” the statement, presented in Deadline, begins.

“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.

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

The Independent has reached out to HarperCollins and representatives of Baron Cohen for further comment.

In the UK book, Wilson says she “rues the day” she met Baron Cohen, who she describes as once being her “idol”.

Rebel Wilson is set to discuss everything from weight loss to sexuality to fertility in a new memoir
Rebel Wilson is set to discuss everything from weight loss to sexuality to fertility in a new memoir (supplied)

In Grimsby, released as The Brothers Grimsby in the US and Canada, Wilson played Dawn, the wife of Baron Cohen’s character Nobby, a football fan who gets drawn into the world of his secret agent brother.

Wilson claims that her aim with her words about Baron Cohen were not intended to “cancel” him, but to retell an experience which made her feel “completely disrespected, which led to me treating myself with even more disrespect by eating in an extremely unhealthy way”.

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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