A judge denied former Alabama judge Roy Moore request to revive his defamation lawsuit against comedian Sasha Baron Cohen, saying the sketch he was duped into participating in was “clearly comedy,” Law&Crime reports.
Moore and his wife Kayla sued Cohen, Showtime and its parent company CBS over a skit from Cohen’s show “Who Is America?” where Cohen pretended to be a former Mossad agent and counterterrorism expert. The skit’s satirical nature was kept hidden from Moore, and Cohen claimed to test advanced Israeli pedophile detector technology on Moore. The device, was actually a magnetometer and it reacted when placed near Moore.
“Humor is an important medium of legitimate expression and central to the well-being of individuals, society, and their government,” the court’s order states, citing a book by Senior U.S. Circuit Judge Robert D. Sack. “Despite its typical literal ‘falsity,’ any effort to control it runs severe risks to free expression as dangerous as those addressed to more ‘serious’ forms of communication.”
“The segment opened by referencing news clips of the allegations that Judge Moore had engaged in sexual misconduct, including with minors, and what followed was an attempt to comment on those allegations through humor,” the court’s order states. “Baron Cohen may have implied (despite his in-character disclaimers of any belief that Judge Moore was a pedophile) that he believed Judge Moore’s accusers, but he did not imply the existence of any independent factual basis for that belief besides the obviously farcical pedophile-detecting ‘device,’ which no reasonable person could believe to be an actual, functioning piece of technology.”
The three-judge panel also ruled that the lengthy release the former judge signed before appearing on the show also was a reason for his suit being dumped.
“The plain text of the [standard consent agreement] bars Judge Moore’s claims for defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and fraud,” the court’s order notes.
Read the full report over at Law&Crime.