Borat fundraiser for film’s black grandmother raises $110,000

November 12, 2020
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Over $110,000 (£85,000) has been raised in support of an unwitting star of Sacha Baron Cohen’s new mockumentary, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.

Jeanise Jones, 62, was recruited for the film that sees Kazakh journalist Borat playing pranks on US citizens.

She features in several scenes after being asked to babysit the fictional daughter of Cohen’s infamous character.

Following the film’s release last week, her church pastor set up a crowdfunding page for fans “to say thank you”.

Pastor Derrick Scobey said Ms Jones, who was hired from the congregation of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, had recently lost her job of 32 years due to the coronavirus pandemic.

During filming, Ms Jones was tasked with looking after Borat’s daughter, Tutar, who was played by actress Maria Bakalova.

In a number of scenes, Ms Jones deflects misogynistic comments made by Mr Cohen’s character, encourages Tutar to “be happy” and tells her to “use your brain, because your daddy is a liar”.

“This was not scripted for Jeanise. It all came from the heart,” said Mr Scobey. “She is one of the most authentic people I’ve ever met.”

In an interview with the New York Post, Ms Jones said of her appearance in the film that she was “trying to give the best advice I know”.

“In that kind of situation, you can’t help but have patience because you’re trying to help somebody – at least, that’s what I thought,” she said.

Speaking to Variety, she said she was yet to watch the film. She was paid $3,600 for her role in the movie, which drew millions of viewers during its opening weekend on Amazon Prime.

Ms Jones said that, since filming, she had been concerned about Tutar’s welfare. But after a friend showed her a trailer for the movie earlier this month, she has looked back on the experience with good humour.

“I’m glad to know [Ms Bakalova’s] not really in that situation,” she told Variety. “[Mr Cohen], I don’t know. It wasn’t real, so I would shake his hand and say, ‘You got me.'”

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