Did Sacha Baron Cohen prank a conservative rally with a racist singalong?

by 24USATVJune 29, 2020, 1:40 a.m. 17
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A performer alleged to be comedian Sacha Baron Cohen took the stage Saturday at a conservative rally in Olympia, Washington, singing a song with offensive lyrics that referenced Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Anthony Fauci and the coronavirus pandemic.

The bearded prankster, dressed in overalls and a hat and accompanied by a bluegrass band, got some in the crowd to sing along with portions of the lyrics, which included:

"Obama, what we gonna do? Inject him with the Wuhan flu. Hillary Clinton, what we gonna do? Lock her up like we used to do. ... Dr. Fauci, what we gonna do? Inject him with the Wuhan flu. WHO, what we gonna do? Chop ’em up like the Saudis do," the person alleged to be Cohen sang in video shared on social media, presumably referring to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Scattered laughter and clapping can be heard in the background.

USA TODAY has reached out to Cohen's representative for comment.

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James Blair, a councilman in Yelm, Washington, wrote on his Facebook page that Cohen was the culprit, and Variety said it had confirmed Cohen was behind the stunt.

According to Blair, Cohen "came on stage disguised as the lead singer of the last band, singing a bunch of racist, hateful, disgusting (expletive). His security blocked event organizers from getting him off the stage or pulling power from the generator. After the crowd realized what he was saying, and turned on him, his security then rushed the stage and evacuated them to a waiting private ambulance that was contracted to be their escape transport.

"It was a set up, and smack in the face of the great people who put on this event," wrote Blair, who added that he suspected the people in the crowd who sang along were not part of the event.

Matt Marshall, a candidate for the state House of Representatives, told Seattle TV station KIRO 7 that the prankster was Cohen. Marshall, who spoke at the rally, said the band billed itself as "The All Right Boys."

About 500 people attended the event, called March for Our Rights 3, The Olympian newspaper reported.

The Facebook page for 3% of Washington, the group that organized the rally, was unavailable Sunday. On its website, the group describes itself as "God fearing Patriots that support our constitution, and promise to defend our country, our community, and our families from all enemies foreign and domestic."

Cohen, who's known for his roles in films such as "Borat" and "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby," has also made a career out of pranking famous and non-famous people alike.

In the first season of his Showtime series "Who Is America?" Bernie Sanders, Dick Cheney, Roy Moore, Jill Stein and O.J. Simpson were the subjects of Cohen's satire.

Cohen told USA TODAY in September that he was done with the prank business.

"It’s incredibly consuming in every aspect," he said. "It’s draining. It can be dangerous. It’s often unrewarding. You’re living a fairly miserable life. Obviously, when you produce good stuff, then it’s rewarding in the end. But the process itself is not fun."

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