Borat litigation is in full swing since last I posted on this subject. Since then, another suit against Fox has sprung up -- this one in Federal court in New York -- on behalf of the citizens of Glod, Romania, who appeared in the film.
Here we have possibly a different set of facts/misrepresentations, and certainly a much more sympathetic set of plaintiffs. To wit:
Spirea Ciorobea, 68, portrayed as the "village mechanic and abortionist" in the film, is being represented by the lawyer's group. "I was approached in the street and asked whether I could play a welder," he said. "Like many people here, I can't find work, so I appreciated the chance to earn some money for my family. Later, they painted my arms up to my elbows with red paint. I had no clue what for and only realize now they wanted to show that I am covered in the blood of the women whose babies I was aborting. I would never have agreed to that, even if they had paid more than the $4 I was given. I am a Christian and oppose frivolous approach to abortion, and I think what they made me do was disgusting.
Wow. I think even down here in low-verdict North Carolina, you wouldn't want to be the Defendant while that poor guy testifies. So I am anxious to see how Fox handles the Romanian plaintiffs, especially given the surprisingly nasty and unpleasant manner in which they hit back at the so-called "frat boy" suit filed in Los Angeles:
Plaintiffs may claim that they were tricked 'into making fools out of themselves' and becoming 'unsuspecting players' in the movie 'Borat,' " the studio said in opposing the request. "They never contend ... that bigoted and misogynistic statements were put into their mouths.
Then they follow with this volley:
It is also fatuous to argue as plaintiffs do that they wouldn't have vented their spleens but for their supposed belief that the movie 'would never air in the United States' but only to more than 500 million residents of Europe and Kazakhstan
Run-on sarcasm, or legal argument? You decide. Then again, you could just say it's a good example of "LA Law."
One other item of note: although it has been said that the inebriation defense is unlikely to invalidate the waiver, it is interesting that the defendants, even at this early stage of the case, can't seem to get their story straight.
According to Field Producer Todd Shulman: "As soon as we arrived at the restaurant, I had each of them fill out and sign the so-called Standard Consent Agreement," Schulman says. "I made sure that they signed the Consent Agreement before they began consuming alcohol."
So he says they signed before consuming alcohol. But that's not what Field Coordinator Chelsea Barnard said: When I arrived, Todd handed me the signed release forms," she says. "Someone at the table made a comment indicating that they were on their second round of drinks. None of the participants appeared to me to be intoxicated.
Not a big deal yet, I don't think. I imagine the defendants will get their witnesses "on message" before long. Anyway, I haven't seen a copy of the pleadings in either of these cases yet, but will link to them once I do.