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Sacha Baron Cohen made sure to keep an eye on Maria Bakalova during her Borat Subsequent Moviefilm scene with Rudy Giuliani. In the film's most-talked-about moment, Giuliani appears to put his hand down his pants while lying on a bed following an interview with Bakalova's character, Tutar, Borat's 15-year-old daughter who's posing as a journalist.
In a tweet, Giuliani called the scene "a complete fabrication," adding that he "was tucking in my shirt after taking off the recording equipment" during the moment in question.
"At no time before, during, or after the interview was I ever inappropriate. If Sacha Baron Cohen implies otherwise he is a stone-cold liar," Giuliani wrote in part. "... As soon as I realized it was a set up I called the police."
(2) In fact, the NY Post today reports "it looks to me like an exaggeration through editing."
As soon as I realized it was a set up I called the police, which has been noted in THR article on July 8th.
Though the scene was a setup, during Friday's episode of Good Morning America, Cohen revealed that he was worried for Bakalova during filming.
"I was quite concerned for her during the scene," he admitted. "We built a hideaway that I was hiding in during the entire scene. So I was monitoring it by text. It's my responsibility as a producer as well to ensure that the lead actor is looked after."
That hideaway and other precautions made Bakalova feel "safe" during the experience.
"I want to thank you that I was sure you were going to save me from everything," she said on GMA. "... I always felt safe with our team, with our crew, with Sacha in my corner. I actually never felt that I'd be in danger. That's why I'm lucky, because I had them."
As for whether or not the scene itself was inappropriate, Cohen urged viewers to decide for themselves.
"I would say that if the president's lawyer found what he did there appropriate behavior, then Heaven knows what he's done with other female journalists in hotel rooms," he said. "I just urge everyone to watch the movie -- it is what it is, he did what he did -- and make your own mind up. It was pretty clear to us."
Cohen's statements about the scene come after his titular character posted a video on Twitter in Giuliani's defense.
"I here to defend America's mayor Rudolph Giuliani. What was an innocent sexy-time encounter between a consenting man and my 15-year-old daughter have been turned into something disgusting by fake news media," Cohen's Borat said in the clip. "I warn you: anyone else try this, and Rudolph will not hesitate to reach into his legal briefs and whip out his supenis."