KINGMAN – Comedian and actor Sacha Baron Cohen had no issue with ridiculing Kingman during his second episode of “Who is America?” on Showtime.
“Kingman, Arizona. Once a bustling mining town and home of civil rights activist Timothy McVeigh, now a depressed habitat for voters clearly still mourning the tragedy of Hillary’s election loss,” Sacha Baron Cohen narrates over footage of Kingman.
Cohen is a British actor and comedian. He made a name for himself in America with his movies “Borat” and “The Dictator.” Both films were met with controversy, especially “Borat,” which was filmed under false pretenses. His new Showtime series “Who is America?” is filmed in much the same way. Cohen dresses up as different characters and puts himself into controversial situations as a joke.
The last five minute segment of the episode, which had Dick Cheney signing a supposed waterboarding kit, was called “Healing the Divide” and featured Kingman. In this, Cohen is dressed as Nira Cain-N’Degeocello, a “self-hating white male.”
Cohen called a fake town hall meeting where he presented a proposal for a “brand new, state-of-the-art mosque,” which would be an investment of $385 million into the Kingman area.
The focus group participants were paid $100-$150 to take part, after a reality TV show firm sent out recruitment ads on Craigslist and Facebook. Residents from Kingman were paid $150 for the inconvenience of being bused to Bullhead City where the filming took place, the Mohave Daily Nwes reported.
“I know some of you are thinking ‘OK, this is just another typical mosque,’” Cohen tells the crowd. “This, guys, is going to be the world’s largest mosque outside the Middle East.”
Cohen then clapped alone in front of the room.
“The word alone scares you,” said one Kingman resident. “To me, when I hear the word ‘mosque,’ I think of terrorism.”
Cohen’s character then goes on to say this mosque will become a hub of tourism for Muslims around the world.
“We don’t want that (expletive) here,” the same Kingman man exclaimed.
“If you bring in Muslims, we might have a problem,” another man said. “We probably will have a problem.”
“We’ll all be moving out of this state,” a woman added, followed by clapping from the rest of the group.
Cohen continues his presentation, saying the mosque would be paid for by the Saudi Arabian government and the Clinton Foundation. As soon as he mentioned the Clinton Foundation, the group started shouting.
“Around here, that’s even worse than the mosque,” a Kingman man said.
The “proposed mosque” would be built with fortified walls to protect worshippers from terrorism and violent racists, Cohen’s character added. Though he didn’t mean to make it sound like he was implying the group he was speaking to was racist.
“I am,” a man said. “I’m racist against Muslims.”
“Why would we want to protect them if we don’t even want them here?” a man said.
“This town is lucky to have black people in it,” a man pointed out.
Cohen twists what the man said praising him for his multiculturalism. Congratulating the man for appreciating all of the cultural effects African-Americans have had on society.
“He’s saying there’s black people in Kingman that aren’t welcome there either, but we tolerate them,” one of the Kingman residents explained.
Cohen then said he would play calming music to ease the tension before he sang a song from a native South African tribe, which was met with disbelief and at least two people who left the room.
“I understand exactly why they said no weapons here,” a man said.
“Why is that, sir?” Cohen asked.
“Because if you come down here and open your mouth and say this kind of (expletive) in front of us, Arizonites, somebody is going to get hurt.”
The episode aired Sunday night.