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Showtime says Sacha Baron Cohen did not dress as ‘disabled veteran’

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Showtime and comedian Sacha Baron Cohen rebuffed former GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s claim that she was “duped” into a prank interview for the British actor’s new series.

The network said in a statement on Monday that Baron Cohen conducted the interview for his new show, “Who is America?,” dressed as one of his new characters, Billy Wayne Ruddick Jr., Ph.D.

{mosads}But contrary to Palin’s claim that the character was intended to be a disabled vet, Showtime said that the show’s premiere on Sunday proved that wasn’t the case.

“There has been widespread misinformation over the past week about the character of Billy Wayne Ruddick Jr., Ph.D., performed by Sacha Baron Cohen on the Showtime comedy series ‘Who Is America?'” the network said.

“Baron Cohen did not present himself as a disabled veteran, and viewers nationwide who watched the premiere on Sunday can now attest to that.”

In the show’s debut on Sunday, Baron Cohen conducted an interview with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) while in character as Ruddick. When Sanders asks Ruddick, who is sitting on a scooter, if he has a disability, Baron Cohen replies: “No, I don’t, this here scooter is to conserve my body’s finite energy.”

In the statement, Showtime said that “Baron Cohen never presented himself as a veteran of the U.S. military to former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin during the booking process or during the filming of her interview, and contrary to her claims he did not appear in a wheelchair.”

“In both the interview with Governor Palin and the interview with Senator Sanders, he did not wear military apparel of any kind,” the network said.

Baron Cohen previously responded in character to Palin’s claims on Twitter last week, posting a letter explaining that, while Ruddick was in the “service,” he meant “United Parcel.” He also wrote that he “only fought for my country once — when I shot a Mexican who came onto my property.”

Tags Bernie Sanders Sacha Baron Cohen Sarah Palin Showtime Who Is America?

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