Rebel Wilson Opens Up About Working With Sacha Baron Cohen After 'A*****e' Jibe

The Borat creator has refuted Rebel's version of events.
Rebel Wilson
Rebel Wilson
Brendon Thorne via Getty Images

Rebel Wilson has reflected on her past work with Sacha Baron Cohen, which she has described as the “worst professional experience of my career”.

Last month, the Pitch Perfect star made headlines when she posted a video on Instagram, in which she referred to an undisclosed former co-star who she’d written about in her upcoming memoir Rebel Rising.

“I worked with a massive asshole, and yeah, now I definitely have a ‘no assholes’ policy,” she explained. “The chapter on said asshole is chapter 23. That guy was a massive asshole.”

In a follow-up Instagram story post shared a few days later, Rebel told her followers: “I will not be bullied or silenced by high priced lawyers or PR crisis managers. The ‘asshole’ that I am talking about in ONE CHAPTER of my book is: Sacha Baron Cohen.”

At the time, a spokesperson for Sacha – who worked with Rebel in the 2016 film Grimsby – told HuffPost UK: “While we appreciate the importance of speaking out, these demonstrably false claims are directly contradicted by extensive detailed evidence, including contemporaneous documents, film footage, and eyewitness accounts from those present before, during and after the production...”

Rebel reflected further on her work with Sacha in an interview with the Sunday Times published over the weekend.

“It’s one thing for someone who is fat to exploit their size for comedy, but it’s another for somebody else to humiliate you,” the Australian star claimed, saying she felt “disrespected” on set, particularly due to her character’s revealing outfits, but didn’t want to speak out in case she were to be labelled a “troublemaker”.

Rebel said she felt “like I was something to be laughed at and degraded because of my size”, noting her character was “demeaned” in certain scenes.

Rebel Wilson and Sacha Baron Cohen in Grimsby
Rebel Wilson and Sacha Baron Cohen in Grimsby

According to the Times, Rebel later returned to sets for reshoots, to which she recalled: “The fact that I then went back… I felt ashamed of myself. Why do I have such low self-worth?”

In her book, the Times quotes her as saying: “I’m sharing my story now because the more women talk about things like this, hopefully the less it happens. And hopefully fewer women have to work harder just to respect themselves.”

The newspaper also writes that the Borat creator “refutes [Rebel’s] claims about her experiences on the set of Grimsby”.

Sacha Baron Cohen
Sacha Baron Cohen
Kevin Dietsch via Getty Images

Sacha Baron Cohen’s team reiterated his original statement when contacted for comment by HuffPost UK.

Rebel previously opened up about her working relationship with the Borat creator during a 2014 radio interview with KIIS FM.

“Sacha is so outrageous,” she said a decade ago, as reported by Australia’s Courier Mail outlet.

“Every single day he’s like, ‘Rebel, can you just go naked in this scene?’ And I’m like, ‘No!’.

“Sacha and I have the same agent in America and I’m like, ‘Sacha, I’m going to call our agent Sharon and tell her how much you are harassing me’.

“Every day he’s like, ’Just go naked, it will be funny. Remember in Borat when I did that naked scene? It was hilarious’.”

She continued: “On the last day I thought I’d obviously won the argument and he got a body double to do the naked scene.

“Then in the last scene ... he was like, ‘Rebel can you just stick your finger up my butt?’ And I went, ‘What do you mean Sacha? That’s not in the script.’ “And he’s like, ‘Look, I’ll just pull down my pants, you just stick your finger up my butt, it’ll be a really funny bit’.”

Rebel concluded: “You don’t wanna be a diva so I [said] I’ll slap you once on the butt and that’s it.”

This article has been updated to include a response from Sacha Baron Cohen via his spokesperson.


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