After making headlines for plunging into the audience and landing his bare-bottom on Eminem's face during 2009 MTV Movie Awards, "Bruno" generates more news with the uncovering of a legal backlash. According to TMZ, Richelle Olson has placed a lawsuit against Sacha Baron Cohen, NBC Universal and others on May 22, following an altercation in a bingo hall during filming of this satirical movie.
Seeking unspecified damages of more than $25,000, the elderly lady who is the Executive Director of Desert Valley Charities claimed that the incident left her disabled and in need of a wheelchair or cane to move around. She stated that she was severely injured after struggling with Cohen and his film crew at the Desert Valley Charities' bingo tournament held in Palmdale, California, in May 2007.
In her lawsuit, it is mentioned that Cohen's Bruno was invited to the event, which raised money for nursing students, because his handlers identified him as a "celebrity" who was filming a documentary on bingo. However, when taking the stage, the character started using offensive language while calling the second bingo game in front of a mostly elderly audience, ensuing a struggle between Olson and the fake celeb.
During the physical struggle, three cameramen and others rushed the stage where Bruno attacked her "for a period of one to five minutes to intentionally create a dramatic emotional response ... while [they] recorded her humiliation and embarrassment." As a result of the attack, Olson claimed that she passed out, fell into a "thin concrete slab" and suffered "two brain bleeds" which led to her being confined to a wheelchair since.
It was unclear whether the incident involving Olson will appear in "Bruno". But, the lawsuit notes contracts that Olson apparently signed, but claim they were entered under "duress" and included several misrepresentations. Representatives for Cohen and NBC Universal have yet to make comment of the legal matter.
Directed by Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Dan Mazer, "Bruno" is developed from one of Cohen's noted characters in comedy television series "Da Ali G Show". Taking the format of "Borat", the movie is said to highlight the interviews between the eccentric gay Austrian fashion reporter and unsuspecting guests, which allegedly include Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ben Affleck. It is set to open in U.S. theaters on July 10.