Sacha Baron Cohen’s deep cover mockumentary show Who Is America? returned last night with an episode that was far more consistently funny/horrifying than the premiere. The standout segment entailed Jason Spencer, a GOP state representative in Georgia, doing racist impressions of a Chinese tourist, shouting the N-word, and baring his ass in an effort to scare away terrorists, in what was supposedly an anti-terrorism training video hosted by Cohen’s ex-Mossad agent character Erran Morad.
Last week, Spencer tried to get ahead of the extremely humiliating segment by telling the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he was duped by Cohen and threatened legal action should the footage ever air.
Spencer said that the producers “took advantage of my fears that I would be attacked by someone” and asked him to participate in a training video designed for “elected officials who may be targeted by terrorists.” In 2016, Spencer proposed, and eventually abandoned a bill that would ban Muslim women from wearing veils in public.
“They exploited my state of mind for profit and notoriety,” Spencer told the Journal-Constitution. “This media company’s deceptive and fraudulent behavior is exactly why President Donald Trump was elected.”
His “state of mind” was apparently amenable to performing some particularly vile tasks on camera, like shouting racial slurs and taking upskirt shots of Muslim women to see if they are hiding weapons, per the clip below.
“It is clear the makers of this film intended to deceive me in an attempt to undermine the American conservative political movement,” Spencer said before threatening to sue if “any of this fraudulently obtained footage of me is used by these Hollywood liberals to line their own pockets.”
Spencer’s preemptive statement apparently failed to impress Georgia House Speaker David Ralston, who called on Spencer, who already lost his primary in May, to leave his post as soon as possible.
“Representative Spencer has disgraced himself and should resign immediately,” Ralston said in a statement issued to the Journal-Constitution. “Georgia is better than this.”
Granted, this call for Spencer’s resignation should have been issued in August when he told black attorney LaDawn Jones that she may “go missing” if she continued to protest Confederate monuments.
“I can guarantee you won’t be met with torches but something a lot more definitive,” Spencer wrote in a disturbing Facebook exchange at the time. “People of South Georgia are a people of action, not drama.”
Spencer has yet to comment on the episode since it aired.
Update (1:32 p.m.): Spencer has since texted a statement to Washington Post reporter Steven Zeitchik, who tweeted it out in a lengthy thread. Amid calls for his resignation, Spencer has vowed to exit his seat when his term ends in five months.
You can read the entirety of Spencer’s statement below:
In 2017 I received countless death threats in connection with my introduction of legislation involving the wearing of masks. The threats escalated to the point that my wife received threatening phone calls concerning her and my children. I was very afraid for my safety and the safety of my entire family. Then, on June 14th, a gunman opened fire at members of Congress on a baseball field. I knew people on that field. Now, the fears I already had became more intensified as the reality of my family being targeted by a similar, deranged, would-be assassin became even more possible. I was in such a poor state of mind that my wife and I also undertook marriage counseling with a licensed therapist during this time.
Sacha Baron Cohen and his associates took advantage of my paralyzing fear that my family would be attacked. In posing as an Israeli Agent, he pretended to offer self-defense exercises. As uncomfortable as I was to participate, I agreed to, understanding that these ‘techniques’ were meant to help me and others fend off what I believed was an inevitable attack. My fears were so heightened at that time, I was not thinking clearly nor could I appreciate what I was agreeing to when I participated in his “class”. I was told I would be filmed as a “demonstration video” to teach others the same skills in Israel. Sacha and his crew further lied to me, stating that I would be able to review and have final approval over any footage used. I deeply regret the language I used at his request as well as my participation in the “class” in general. If I had not been so distracted by my fears, I never would have agreed to participate in the first place. I apologize to my family, friends, and the people of my district for this ridiculously ugly episode.
Finally, there are calls for me to resign. I recently lost my primary election, so I will not be eligible to hold office next term. Therefore, I will finish the remaining five months at my post and vacate my seat.