On Thursday, an appeals court rejected former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice Roy Moore’s $95 million lawsuit against Sacha Baron Cohen.
Moore initially filed a lawsuit in 2018 against Cohen, CBS, and Showtime over his appearance in an episode of the comedy series, which saw Cohen play various characters interviewing real political figures and regular members of the public. The lawsuit was dismissed last year, and the appeals court has determined that the interview—however embarrassing it was for Moore—is “clearly comedy.”
"Baron Cohen may have implied that he believed Judge Moore’s accusers, but he did not imply the existence of any independent factual basis for that belief besides the obviously farcical pedophile detecting ‘device,’ which no reasonable person could believe to be an actual, functioning piece of technology," reads the court’s rejection of the lawsuit, per the Associated Press.
The episode Moore took issue with featured Cohen as fictional Israeli anti-terrorism expert Erran Morad. In Cohen’s interview with Moore, he presented a device which he claimed detected “sex offenders and particularly pedophiles.” When he waved the device at Moore, it beeped.
“I’ve been married for 33 years and never had an accusation of such things,” Moore said, who later walked out of the interview. “If this is an instrument, I’m certainly not a pedophile, okay? Maybe Israeli technology hasn’t developed properly.”
At the time, Moore was facing allegations of sexual misconduct including one with someone who was just 14 at the time of the alleged assault. In 2019, a D.C. district judge upheld the consent agreement Moore signed when he agreed to appear in the series.
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