There have been a huge amount of reports in the press that comedy character actor Sacha Baron Cohen has got himself into the legal mire in the States, after filming at a charity bingo game went wrong. It has been reported that Baron Cohen was filming for his new film at a charity bingo tournament when his alter ego of ‘Bruno’ upset the elderly bingo players by using profane language when he acted as the bingo caller. A struggle then ensued when an outraged Ms Richelle Olson tried to take the microphone of Baron Cohen who is accused then of pushing her over whereby she was allegedly cornered and assaulted by the camera crew.
Ms Olson alleges that she managed to escape from the stage but fainted due to the drama and hit her head which caused a bleed to her brain which has resulted in Ms Olson being disabled and needing a wheelchair or a stick to assist her with her now limited mobility. Ms Olson has filed a claim in the Los Angeles Superior Court to pursue the actor and film studio, NBC Universal for unspecified damages thought to be in excess of $25,000. A report in yesterdays Telegraph regarding the incident that took place in 2007at the Desert Valley charity bingo event in Palmdale , California states that ‘Baron Cohen, NBC Universal and other companies involved in the production’ are accused of ‘assault, battery, fraudulent misrepresentation and other charges’. There has been no word from NBC Universal if the dramatic scenes filmed will be in the final film when it is released shortly.
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The US is very much an ‘ambulance chasing’ culture, so maybe outrageous entertainers such as Baron Cohen should think very carefully before embarking on stunts such as this across the pond. Clearly this culture is now unfortunately spreading fast and the daytime television programme schedules here in the UK are now interspersed with the usual online bingo and baby product adverts but now added with a huge amount of advertising campaigns for ‘no win, no fee’ solicitors, almost to the point that it seems that viewers are being bombarded with ‘have you recently had a trip or fall?’ or ‘Accident at work?’ messages. We are not, of course, making any accusations regarding Ms Olson’s legal action being anything other than genuine.