Both actors spoke to Good Morning America on Friday, the day of the release of Borat Subsequent Moviefilm. Baron Cohen reprises his role as Borat Sagdiyev in the film, while Bakalova stars as Borat’s daughter Tutar.
Anchor Amy Robach asked the duo about a scene in which Mr Giuliani, Donald Trump’s personal attorney, is seen seemingly putting a hand down his trousers.
The edited sequence appears after Mr Giuliani takes part in what is presented to him as an interview with Bakalova/Tutar. Bakalova, still in character, is heard suggesting they go “have a drink in the bedroom”. “You can give me your phone number and your address,” Mr Giuliani is heard saying. He pats the actor on the waist, after which she appears to help him remove his audio equipment. “Should we slip your jacket?” she’s heard asking, to which Mr Giuliani apparently responds: “OK.”
Mr Giuliani, who is sitting at the edge of a bed, is then seen lying back and appears to place his hand down his waistband. He has denounced the sequence as “a complete fabrication” and said he was “tucking in my shirt after taking off the recording equipment”.
Baron Cohen addressed the sequence on GMA on Friday, stating: “I would say that if the president's lawyer found what he did there appropriate behaviour, then heaven knows what he's done with other female journalists in hotel rooms.
“I just urge everyone to watch the movie. It is what it is. He did what he did. Make your own mind up. It was pretty clear to us.”
The comedian, who is also one of the movie’s producers, said he was monitoring the scene as it was unfolding from a “hideaway” he and his team had built.
“I was quite concerned for her during the scene,” he said, adding: “It’s my responsibility as a producer as well to ensure that the lead actor is looked after.”
Asked whether she felt unsafe during the scene, Bakalova said that wasn’t the case and that she always felt safe thanks to the team and crew.
In a series of tweets about the sequence, Mr Giuliani wrote in part: “At no time before, during, or after the interview was I ever inappropriate. If Sacha Baron Cohen implies otherwise he is a stone-cold liar.”
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is out now on Amazon Prime. The original, released in 2006, earned $262m at the worldwide box office and was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Adapted Screenplay category.