Sacha Baron Cohen told Deadline that one segment he taped for his Showtime series Who is America? was so disturbing that he decided not to air the footage. Instead, he turned it over to the FBI.
Baron Cohen conducted the interview as his character Gio Monaldo—the white-haired Italian billionaire who badgered Bachelor contestant Corinne Oympios into lying about helping Ebola victims. In the unaired segment, he interviewed a Las Vegas concierge under the particularly disturbing premise that his character was a child molester. He assumed that the concierge would be repulsed, but Baron Cohen turned out to be terrifyingly wrong:
And then at the end of the interview I say, listen, I want to go out and celebrate now. Can you get me a date for tonight? He says, “What do you mean, a date?” I go, you know, like a young man. He says, “Well, what kind of age?” I say, lower than Bar Mitzvah but older than eight. And he says, “Yeah, I can put you in touch with somebody who can get you some boys like that.”
Baron Cohen rightly decided that the footage was “too dark and wrong” to air, and handed it over to the FBI. But investigators apparently told him they’d decided not to follow up.
We immediately turned over the footage to the FBI because we thought, perhaps there’s a pedophile ring in Las Vegas that’s operating for these very wealthy men. And this concierge had said that he’d worked for politicians and various billionaires. But in the end the FBI decided not to pursue it.
Baron Cohen also revealed that he’d cut his interview with Sarah Palin because it “just was not funny enough.” Additionally, he told Deadline that he successfully landed an interview with Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, but that a representative from the White House pulled Carson from the segment at the very last moment. Baron Cohen received a Golden Globe nomination for his work on Who is America?, but has said that the show won’t return for a second season.