Wait a minute. Are they Olympia and Lakewood in the new “Borat” movie?
Sacha Baron Cohen’s character unleashed on the world in 2006, satirical journalist Borat, is back with a new movie released Friday on Amazon Prime.
Many in Washington State have already witnessed his return. They just didn’t know it at the time.
“Borat After Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan” is a surprise sequel shot largely in secret and featuring multiple locations in Washington.
One was spotted in the trailer by keen-eyed online viewers, who identified him as AAA Loans & Gun Shop in Lakewood. This is where Cohen’s Borat meets a man who tells him about the need to self-quarantine. Cohen accompanies the man to his home, where, he told the New York Times, he “lived in character for five days.”
“I would wake up, have breakfast, lunch, dinner, fall asleep as Borat when I lived in a house with these two conspiracy theorists,” he said. “You can’t have a moment out of character.”
There are scenes where Cohen sneaks into a speech by Mike Pence at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and a mock interview with Rudy Giuliani that takes an alarming turn, ending with Giuliani calling the police.
What turns out to be the most mind-boggling moment comes when Cohen disguises himself to attend a conservative rally in downtown Olympia. The rally titled “March for Our Rights 3” was held at Heritage Park in June.
The event was a pro-gun rally organized by the Three Percenters group, which the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) considers “an extremist anti-government movement.” With around 500 attendees, speakers included anti-tax activist Tim Eyman and Joey Gibson of Patriot Prayer, whom the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has classified as a hate group.
In the movie, Cohen takes the stage to sing a song with lyrics including “Obama, what are we going to do?” Inject him Wuhan flu, ”and“ Corona is a liberal hoax, ”which he invites the audience to sing about.
At the time, videos posted on Twitter assumed it was Cohen in costume and potentially for a new season of his “Who Is America?” No one knew the event would be the culmination of a new Borat movie.
The film contains more shots of the audience, some sporting QAnon logos, than the first social media videos, which focused primarily on Cohen on stage. It captures some members of the audience joining in the song, clapping and laughing, as well as a person in the crowd giving a Nazi salute. The segment ends with Cohen waving a quick farewell and descending from the stage.
What the film doesn’t show are the aftermath. In an opinion piece for Time denouncing “hate, lies and conspiracies,” Cohen said he feared for his safety after the public finally understood the joke.
“When the organizers finally stormed the scene, I rushed to a nearby getaway vehicle. An angry crowd blocked our way and started hitting the vehicle with their fists, ”Cohen said in the article. “Underneath my overalls I was wearing a bulletproof vest, but it felt inadequate with some people outside carrying semi-automatic weapons. When someone tore the door open to drag me outside, I used all of my body weight to close the door until our vehicle was released.
Yelm City Councilor James Blair attended the rally and then emailed The Olympian to explain his take on the aftermath of Cohen’s appearance and his personal Facebook post.
“I haven’t been contacted by anyone claiming to be directly associated with Cohen,” Blair said in his email. “However, in the past 12 hours my post has been running on numerous social media channels, with who knows what comment. I have had hundreds of people calling me a racist, a Nazi and a supremacist. white, none of which has the slightest hint of truth.
Cohen was not alone in the stunt during the rally. He was there with another character from the film, his daughter Sandra Jessica Parker Sagdiyev, whose true identity is a mystery despite being credited as Irina Novak.
The scene at Olympia ends up being the most publicized and complicated prank Cohen pulls off in the film. Washingtonians and the world can see the state onscreen when it releases Friday on Amazon Prime.