Jeanise Jones, the woman who appears in the film Borat 2 as a babysitter, believed she was taking part in a real documentary – and she was genuinely concerned for the child in her care.
In the film, Sacha Baron Cohen’s titular character hired Jones to watch his 15-year-old Kazakh daughter Tutar Sagdiyev, who was played by 24-year-old actor Maria Bakalova. During their time together, Tutar told Jones that she plans to get breast implants so she can be given as a gift to an American man.
Jones responded with an empowering speech that turned her into one of the film’s breakout stars, explaining to Tutar that “any man should like you as you are” and “your daddy is a liar.”
“I’m thinking she’s really from a third-world [country] and that’s how they treat women and young girls,” Jones told Variety in an interview. “I [suggested they] take her to a school and let her observe girls in a classroom who can read and write just like boys. I was thinking it was real, so my thought was they were going to take her to see different things and make it so she could be able to stay in the United States. Evidently, that’s not what happened.”
According to Jones’ pastor Derrick Scobey, the production approached Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church to recruit a “Black grandmother” for a documentary. Jones said she was aghast when Cohen’s character first dropped off Tutar.
“You can’t print what first went through my mind. I was like, ‘What … in the world…. is this?’ It threw me off,” she said.
Jones said she had no idea she was being set up by the filmmakers:
Jones was paid £2,800 in total for her role in the film, she told Variety.
“I can’t say it was fair because they knew it was going to be a movie, and I didn’t,” she said. “I just thought I was doing a documentary about how we do things in America. But I blame myself for not reading when I signed those papers.”
Since the film’s release last week on Amazon Prime Video, Jones’ pastor has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for the mom of three and grandmother of six, who he said has been unemployed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have been praying for the young lady in the movie because we all genuinely thought she was in trouble. The joke is on us/Jeanise and that’s no problem,” Scobey wrote. “Many of you have reached from around the world to say thank you, so I thought it would be great to give people a vehicle to say thank you in a tangible way.”
So far, the campaign has raised over £70,000.
Watch Jones’ inspirational speech below: