During the release of Borat, Sacha Baron Cohen and Fox faced a bunch of lawsuits, most of them claiming the film's irreversible damage to reputations, none of which were even moderately successful. Now, Bruno's first litigation failures have arrived.
Richelle Olson's scene (which was apparently cut, per the comments) has her hosting a charity bingo game with a mostly elderly audience when "Bruno" starts to call out the numbers with "vulgarities." Olson, her husband, and their lawyer Kyle Madison originally alleged that Baron Cohen and her camera crew assaulted her, which caused her to run off stage crying hysterically, falling unconscious, and hitting her head on a concrete slab, which caused two brain bleeds and now has her "confined to a wheelchair."
Universal then released that it was actually Olson assaulting Baron Cohen, and showed the footage of it to Madison. He's since amended the lawsuit to drop the charges of assault and battery. But they're still pressing on:
"The amendment to the original complaint does not change the cause of the injuries plead in the original complaint," Madison says. "Mrs. Olson's brain injuries were never alleged to have been derived from an assault or battery. She suffered two brain bleeds after the confrontation ensued with Mr. Baron Cohen. According to California case law, any injuries deriving from intentional infliction of emotional distress are recoverable. Mr. Baron Cohen and those associated with the production of 'Bruno,' are accountable for inflicting serious emotional distress and the resulting injuries to Mrs. Olson."
The movie is currently wiping the box office competition all over the place; they're slated for the third-highest comedy opening in Australia, and the film's now projected by the studio to make $35.8M in the weekend wrap, which, according to Nikki Finke, would make it one of the five highest R-rated comedy openings ever.
Again, if Borat's record shows anything, it's that Baron Cohen and his respective studios set up enough legal shields to protect themselves from almost any kind of liability, anywhere. Ambulance chasers and their clients are always more than suspect; they bring to mind a particularly bad episode of The People's Court. That being said, how fair is it of Baron Cohen and his team to descend on otherwise non public-figures and film scenes with them that can potentially change the way they live their lives thereafter? Maybe not at all; many of the people got in front of the camera under somewhat false pretenses. Then again, they're in front of the camera. There's always that.