‘Bruno’ actor Sasha Baron Cohen
TEL AVIV – A “terrorist leader” interviewed in the hit movie “Bruno” has filed a $115 million suit against the movie’s producers and star Sasha Baron Cohen, an amount equal to half of the movie’s gross box office earnings.
WND first reported in July that Ayman Abu Aita charged the film mislabels him and that Cohen conducted the interview under false pretenses.
Aita has also filed suit against the movie’s distributors, NBC and Universal Studios, for allegedly tricking him into meeting Cohen under the pretext that Cohen was a German producing a film about the Palestinian cause.
Aita told the London Daily Mail today that since the film was released to cinemas this summer he has received several death threats.
Abu Aita, labeled in the movie as a “terrorist group leader,” said he was shocked when he learned days after the July release of “Bruno” that the film depicts a homosexual character and contains scenes of full frontal male nudity and graphic homosexual fetish sex.
Aita also slammed Cohen as a “big liar” who “made up stories” when describing to CBS’ David Letterman last summer the way he met Aita at an undisclosed location. Aita said he is pursuing legal action against Cohen.
“[Cohen] said this was a film going to help the Palestinian cause,” Aita told WND. “When I heard (four days ago) what this film was about, I really didn’t believe it.”
The character Bruno is a flamboyant Austrian television host who moves to Los Angeles to become “the biggest Austrian star since Hitler.” At one point in the movie, Bruno meets Aita, depicted as a terrorist group leader from the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, in a bid to seduce the jihadist group into kidnapping him so Bruno can become famous.
The Brigades is responsible for scores of suicide bombings, shootings and deadly rocket attacks against Israeli civilian population centers.
Aita, however, is not exactly a terrorist. At least not anymore.
Aita is a representative of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party to the West Bank town of Beit Sahor, a satellite of Bethlehem. He also is a board member of the Holy Land Trust, a nongovernmental organization promoting Palestinian rights and commitment to nonviolence.
Aita served in the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades from 2000 until 2003 then spent two years in Israeli prison on accusations he was involved in shootings against Israeli soldiers operating in Bethlehem. Still, according to Israeli security sources speaking to WND, Aita, while a member of the Brigades, once worked with Jewish state officials to return two Israeli reserve soldiers who had gotten lost in Bethlehem.
Cohen, meanwhile, has pumped up his sit-down with a “real terrorist” to promote his new movie.
In the interview with Letterman, Cohen described meeting Aita and Aita’s “bodyguard” at an undisclosed location in the West Bank.
“I thought I needed security,” Cohen told Letterman. “It was in the West Bank. The guy picks this secret location. … The terrorist comes in with his bodyguard.”
“I was pretty sure that my terrorist either did or did not have a gun on him,” said Cohen.
Aita, however, says the interview took place at a private section of a popular restaurant called Everest in the town of Beit Jala, which is in a section in the West Bank under Israeli control.
Aita said he does not carry any weapons and Palestinians are not allowed to bring weapons into Beit Jala. Indeed, during in-person interviews with WND, Aita was unarmed.
Aita also said he does not have a bodyguard. The second individual who showed up with him for the interview with Cohen, he said, was Sammy Awad, the American manager of the Holy Land Trust.
Asked if he thought anything was unusual about the way Cohen acted or dressed during the interview, Aita replied, “No. He behaved very normally.”
“There was nothing special,” continued Aita. “He said he is a German actor making documentaries watched by young people. … He wanted to make a story to mobilize the young people to help us (Palestinians). … I didn’t have any impression he would use my interview in a bad way.”
Aita slammed Cohen as a “big liar.”
He said he is in the process of securing a lawyer to pursue possible legal action, claiming the film “made me big damages.”