Television

First Kazakhstan, Now Heddi Cundle

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A woman who knew British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen when they were both teenagers is suing him and HBO for slander because he used her name in referring to a fictional former girlfriend of his fictional alter ego, the dim, boorish hip-hopster Ali G, during a 2004 interview with the actual Gore Vidal on Da Ali G Show. The relevant riff went like this:

Ain't it better sometimes, to get rid of the whole thing rather than amend [the Constitution] cos like me used to go out with this bitch called Heddi Cundle, and she used to always trying amend herself. Y'know, get her hair done in highlights, get like tattoo done on her batty crease, y'know have the whole thing shaved—very nice but it didn't make any more difference. She was still a minger, and so, y'know, me had enough, and once me got her pregnant me said, "Alright, laters, that is it." Ain't it the same with the Constitution?

The real Cundle (who was born in the U.K. but now lives in California, which is where she filed her suit) was pissed off when she heard about the segment from friends, and it's clear Ali G is not the only dick here. Using the name of a real person for this bit, whether just for fun or to settle a grudge, is juvenile and mean, especially since the target is not a celebrity but an ordinary person without the ready media access that Cohen enjoys. Still (you knew that was coming, didn't you?), a lawsuit is not an appropriate response. I have the usual libertarian objections to the idea that you "own" your reputation (i.e., what other people think of you) and can therefore sue people for damaging it by lying about you. And as a practical matter, I think it would be better to live in a world where it was widely understood that any idiot can make up nasty things about you with legal impunity, instead of one where people tend to assume an allegation is true unless a lawsuit is forthcoming.

Those considerations aside, the main effect of this lawsuit is to inform millions of people who thought "Heddi Cundle" was a fictional character that she is a real person who insists she "never engaged in any sexual activity" with Cohen. (HBO agreed to edit out Cundle's name from the show after it aired 20 or so times.) The people who already knew Cundle was a real person might be reassured by her public protest, assuming they took what Ali G said seriously. On balance, I'm not sure how Cundle comes out ahead, unless she wins big damages, which seems unlikely. Given the fictional/satirical context, it's implausible to argue that Cohen was asserting facts about Cundle, just as it would be implausible to argue that he was asserting facts about Kazakhstan in Borat.

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  1. my god, what a great name!

  2. I’d like to agree with you that lawsuits aren’t the answer in cases of damage to reputation (slander, et al)… but I can’t. Why? Because people are stupid. And they tend to believe most everything they hear. If I had an audience and said “Jacob Sullum enjoys molesting small goats”… I’d bet you half the people I told that to would believe it… and then think “Jacob Sullum? Isn’t he the one that molests goats? Why would I want to visit that weirdo’s website?”.

    People don’t assume something is true without the lawsuit. The people who believe it’s true would believe that whether or not the possibility of a lawsuit even existed, because that’s human nature.

  3. the main effect of this lawsuit is to inform millions of people who thought “Heddi Cundle” was a fictional character that she is a real person who insists she “never engaged in any sexual activity” with Cohen.

    No. The main effect is to publicly humiliate Cohen by making him look like an a$$hole. And as apparently she’s good and pissed off, good for her for doing so.

  4. That’s “Hedley!”

  5. Hate goats.

  6. After defrauding and humiliating the Romanian villagers (someone please post the link) Cohen deserves everythng bad that’s coming to him, sorry. Where can I contribute?

  7. Here’s your damn link, you lazy good-for-nothing.

  8. You make it easy to love my enemies. Chastely, of course, in case the Press is listening.

  9. Wow, looks like I am the only one here that thinks this girl is blowing this way out of proportion and bringing more negative attention to herself when most people probably just assumed she was fictional. It was an Ali G skit, I think she should get over herself.

  10. as evidenced by the suit your honor, Mr. Ali G was correct about the young lady, fictional or otherwise. The bit about leaving her as soon as he knocked her up? That isnt funny, I dont care who you are

  11. me had enough, and once me got her pregnant me said, “Alright, laters, that is it.” Ain’t it the same with the Constitution?

    Well, the constitution hasn’t yet been pregnant.

  12. Now, allow me to comment on people being pissed at Cohen for “exploiting” them.

    I finally saw the movie last week. I love the TV show. People talked up the movie so much that I thought it would be over the top compared to the show. Meh, not so much. The movie is a series of skits like the TV show that are strung together with scenes of Borat’s life in Kazakhstan and slapstick with his producer. That guy as the producer was brilliant – the highlight of the flick. The nude wrestling scene was priceless. Overall, however, the movie ain’t any crazier than the TV show. Nobody got anything they didn’t deserve, because nobody got taken that badly. The college kids portrayed themselves as brain dead frat boys. The southerners had a slightly awkward dinner party. He paid the antiques dealer. I heard that the woman who booked him on the morning news show was canned. She deserved it. She booked Borat, ferpetesake! Those Romanians flipped out over nothing. No one with 1/4 of a brain really thought they were as he portrayed them. What – he should have told them what he was filming? He should have paid them more? Why? Other towns would have done the gig for what he offered. He did not screw them over.

    As for this Heddi Cundle, does she think she’s been defamed because a fictional character claims to have impregnated her? She should sue him for fictional back child support.

  13. That was too much of a rant. Let me say that Cohen could, maybe should, choose to be a nice guy and share a little of the wealth he made from the movie with the villagers. I just don’t think they should feel as if he cheated them of anything.

  14. I agree this is overblown. Though I’m not sure if some girl I knew in the past had a fictional character that she portrayed say that I knocked her up and was a deadbeat dad what my reaction would be. It would either be, “Hah, that’s pretty funny. She still remembers me.” or “That bitch.” I guess it depends on what I thought of her. It would never get to the point of a lawsuit though.

  15. The elderly amputee; either you, uh, feel for him or you don’t. May nothing comparable ever happen to you.

  16. Well, the constitution hasn’t yet been pregnant.

    Not for lack of trying!

  17. “I have the usual libertarian objections to the idea that you “own” your reputation (i.e., what other people think of you) and can therefore sue people for damaging it by lying about you.”

    I was unaware that being indifferent to slander was a libertarian principle. If you develop a reputation for being a bad actor, who will want to deal with you, professionally or personally? If that bad reputation came about by people spreading lies about what you had done, how have you not been damaged in a very real sense?

    Does this blind spot really exist in libertarianism, or just in Sullum’s notion of it?

  18. Fickle me fan,
    I understand where you are coming from. I feel bad for the man that he lives in grinding poverty. I feel bad that on top of that he is missing his hand. The little gag with the fist, that I don’t feel so bad about. It is not as if they gave him a used sex toy. It is not as if they put it on his arm then inserted the toy into someone’s or some thing’s orifice. The gag was distasteful, but not offensive. Embarrassing, but not harmful.

  19. MJ – I think you’re confusing “denying owning your reputation” and “being OK with slander”, although Sullum did phrase it in a pretty extreme way, and I don’t see why he would be OK with somebody lying about him in such a way as to damage his personal or professional standing. There are people and organizations in this world who seem to think that they “own their reputation”, so anything that anybody says or does that might damage it is verboten, true or not: that’s the phenomenon to which libertarians usually object. Your reputation, after all, is not literally your possession, just a bunch of ideas in other people’s heads, so to claim that you have a property in it is to claim that you have a property in other people’s ideas. Odd, no?

  20. “I have the usual libertarian objections to the idea that you “own” your reputation (i.e., what other people think of you) and can therefore sue people for damaging it by lying about you.”

    Seems like the idea of using the courts for this kind of redress fits nicely inside the libertarian framework… government is only supposed to enforce against theft and fraud. Libel is a form of fraud. It is a deception that results in a (potential) tort. If you think that your reputation does not have real value as a journalist, you don’t understand your profession.

    Physical property has no firmer a basis for protection than your reputation when it gets down to brass tacks. Both are arbitrary lines drawn in the sand. Once you get past the right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, it is all arbitrary.

    A nice discussion
    http://www.iep.utm.edu/h/hum-rts.htm#SH4b

    “Indeed, Rorty (1993) has argued that human rights are based not upon the exercise of reason, but a sentimental vision of humanity. He insists that human rights are not rationally defensible. He argues that one cannot justify the basis of human rights by appeal to moral theory and the canons of reason since, he insists, moral beliefs and practices are not ultimately motivated by an appeal to reason or moral theory, but emanate from a sympathetic identification with others: morality originates in the heart, and not in the head. Interestingly, though unambiguously sceptical about the philosophical basis of human rights, Rorty views the existence of human rights as a ‘good and desirable thing’, something whose existence we all benefit from. His critique of human rights is this not motivated by an underlying hostility to the doctrine. For Rorty, human rights are better served by emotional appeals to identify with the unnecessary suffering of others, than by arguments over the correct determination of reason.”

  21. Let me say that Cohen could, maybe should, choose to be a nice guy and share a little of the wealth he made from the movie with the villagers.

    Cohen should purchase compact florescent light bulbs for the Romanian village.

    And maybe pay somebody to plant a tree or two.

  22. I have bolded what I believe are the operative parts of Sullum’s statement.

    have the usual libertarian objections to the idea that you “own” your reputation (i.e., what other people think of you) and can therefore sue people for damaging it by lying about you. And as a practical matter, I think it would be better to live in a world where it was widely understood that any idiot can make up nasty things about you with legal impunity, instead of one where people tend to assume an allegation is true unless a lawsuit is forthcoming.

  23. highnumber – Cohen’s responsible not for the innocent foil’s advanced age, his injury, or his poverty, but for having deceived him. Cohen defrauded a trusting employee who would not knowingly have participated in what became, inevitably and predictably, his own familial and communal humiliation in a locale where he will live out the rest of his life. I can only point out that idenity and shame operate differently in different cultures, evidence of which is that Cohen is apparently incapable of feeling any.

  24. http://yoism.gaiahost.coop/wiki/index.php/Toward_a_Yoan_Philosophy_of_Property_and_Property_Rights

    Another interesting discussion of the philosophical basis for property rights (or lack thereof). How would reputation play into this?

    Highnumber,
    Your bolded phrases indicate that you have no control over what others think of you. Do you take no responsibility for the consequences of your actions? Does your labor to create a honorable reputation have no value?

  25. Not ticklish there,
    I do not know how shame operates in Glod, but I have the feeling, of course I could be wrong, that these resilient people have already recovered. My gut tells me that expressing outrage was the relief that some more sensitive souls needed, and the occasion that some more opportunistic types sought.

  26. Jacob Sullum summed up basically the same thing that Murray Rothbard said about reputation, slander and libel:
    —————————————
    Another difficult zone is the law of libel and slander. It has generally been held legitimate to restrict freedom of speech if that speech has the effect of either falsely or maliciously damaging the reputation of another person. What the law of libel and slander does, in short, is to argue a “property right” of someone in his own reputation. Yet some?one’s “reputation” is not and cannot be “owned” by him, since it is purely a function of the subjective feelings and attitudes held by other people. But since no one can ever truly “own the mind and attitude of another, this means that no one can literally have a property right in his “reputation.” A person’s reputation fluctuates all the time, in accordance with the attitudes and opinions of the rest of the population. Hence, speech attacking someone cannot be an invasion of his property right and therefore should not be subject to restriction or legal penalty.

    It is, of course, immoral to level false charges against another person, but once again, the moral and the legal are, for the libertarian, two very different categories.

    Furthermore, pragmatically, if there were no laws of libel or slander, people would be much less willing to credit charges without full docu?mentation than they are now. Nowadays, if a man is charged with some flaw or misdeed, the general reaction is to believe it, since if the charge were false, “Why doesn’t he sue for libel?” The law of libel, of course, discriminates in this way against the poor, since a person with few financial resources is scarcely as ready to carry on a costly libel suit as a person of affluent means. Furthermore, wealthy people can now use the libel laws as a club against poorer persons, restricting perfectly legitimate charges and utterances under the threat of sueing their poorer enemies for libel. Paradoxically, then, a person of limited resources is more apt to suffer from libel-and to have his own speech restricted-in the present system than he would in a world without any laws against libel or defamation.
    ————————-
    From:
    http://www.mises.org/rothbard/newliberty5.asp

  27. Ali G, a fictional character refers to a girl he banged. Huh, would’ve thought that she was fictional too.

    Following the logic of Ms. Cundle, if Rick Deckard isn’t a replicant killing cop, can he sue for defamation? What about the real Dr. Mitch Taylor for being poorly portrayed in Real Genius? Of course not because being associated with a fictional character has not cost them any money, therefore, no loss. If Ms. Cundle lost a job because of the Ali G bit, then maybe I could see it, but otherwise, piss of.

    So the name Ali G used was the same as a person that Cohen knew in HS. Who gives a shit? If I was writing a skit and needed a realistic but unusual fill in name, I’d probably hearken back to my HS days to find one as well. She should be honored that he remembered her and not Susie Gl?cklichstift instead.

  28. highnumber – Mebbe. Then I’m a sucker. And with Socrates would rather be sinned against than sin against. The (putative) resilience of a victim doesn’t justify his exploitation. Cohen’s a dirtbag for violating the Golden Rule.

  29. Neu Mejican,
    I think Sullum was expressing that threats of lawsuits may stifle controversial speech, and that it is better to allow possibly untrue statements with impunity than to ban statements of opinion that may be construed as statements of fact.
    Maybe.

    I don’t know that I entirely agree with him whatever he thinks. What he said gave me pause, too. I have been pondering it.

  30. highnumber,

    I’m glad I wasn’t the only person alive that was a fan of the show but thought the movie was disappointing, to say the least.

  31. Cohen’s a dirtbag for violating the Golden Rule.

    Did Jesus and Dirty Harry have a kid?

    Anyway, I saw it not as exploitation, but as more akin to a practical joke or teasing. If they had been from a middle class town, no one would have cried about them being tricked. For me, the sad thing is how they live. Maybe he exploited their poverty. On a moral level, if one uses someone because they are poor, and one gains wealth through it, one should share the wealth. I don’t think we’re far apart here.
    You say, “Cohen = dirtbag.” I say “Cohen = possibly amoral comedian.”

  32. …and you meant Moses, not Jesus, who demanded not reciprocity but unilateral solicitousness. If Cohen is an agent of a program to eradicate shame in all cultures, that would justify, if only for him, his “teasing”. But such imperialism of morals confirms the accusations against modernity/postmodernity by, say, the Taliban, not to speak of accusations by reactionary Catholicism or domestic fundies.

    I say amoral = dirtbag, by the law of entropy. I also say that if we don’t want to respect other culture’s codes, we’re a) wrong and b) asking for trouble.

  33. Stevo Darkly,

    Rothbard’s, of course, is a prime example of the kind of argument that Rorty identifies. He is drawing an arbitrary distinction between owner ship of someone’s reputation and ownership of physical objects. Your ownership of a physical object is based upon the attitudes and opinions of others in a very real sense. As such that ownership is no more real than your ownership of your reputation.

  34. I am so grateful to the Daily Mail and other bleeding hearts who went to the impoverished town full of blissfully ignorant villagers and patiently, thoroughly, generously revealed their humiliation to them until they could no longer stand it and felt compelled to pool their meager resources to initiate a lawsuit. Now, everything is right.

  35. No, but closer than it was.

  36. Neu Mejican,

    Yes, physical property seems to be dependent on similar things.

  37. “Your reputation, after all, is not literally your possession, just a bunch of ideas in other people’s heads, so to claim that you have a property in it is to claim that you have a property in other people’s ideas. Odd, no”

    take away my decoder ring and call me a statist, but i see no real problems with libel and slander suits. your reputation is a very real thing, as anyone who has been slandered can attest. (i’ve only been sued for libel myself)

    as a thought experiment, imagine you move somewhere and the local bluenoses confuse your name (jack m. johnson) with a recently released sex offender (jack o. johnson) and decide to encourage your exit from town with you by putting up 5000 flyers with your name and the phrase “baby rapist” next to a picture of your home and your home address. an extreme example, perhaps, but a remarkable demonstration of how socially interconnected we are and how real your social reputation is in your day to day life.

  38. Well, on a much more mild level, I had a slightly different treatment from Eve Faribanks at The New Republic and reacted in the way that Jacob seems to advocate. I made fun of the story and turned her into a verb.

    As is frequently the case, she exposed herself better than anybody else could.

    Some of my /. buddies tried to turn that act into a verb called “Montagging” but it does not seem to be as popular a word as Fairbanksing.

    I never thought about court as an option at any time.

    Curious though, think she could make some money off of that new movie title ‘Shooter’?

  39. as a thought experiment, imagine

    …that highnuber thought I was referring to and conversing with him!

  40. Rothbard was wrong about that like he was wrong about a lot of things. Why does the LP continue to worship the dead asses of Rothbard or Rand?

    libel and slander are not un-libertarian, and can lead to very real material damages of property and life.

  41. Well, the constitution hasn’t yet been pregnant.

    Not for lack of trying!

    Only because the country has been fucking our Constitution in the ass.

  42. dicky trick,
    I don’t get it.

  43. I was jocularly professing to have been referring to, and even engaging, not you, but some (unlikely) namesake of yours.

    It was to show that defense against even inadvertant libel/slander can consist in such recourse as dhex, from whom I quoted, championed.

    It was to indicate that sharing a name can lead to guilt by free association.

    But I see you weren’t, as the man rehearsing in the mirror said, talkin’ to me.

  44. Woah!
    Dude, it wasn’t me. I wasn’t even there. I never met her. We only dated once. I never even got her phone number. We never even hugged. I was wearing a condom. She told me she was on the pill.
    That ain’t my kid.

  45. This ex-girlfriend needs to show (among other things) that she actually suffered a loss to her reputation in order to win her case. If nobody associated her with the character in the monologue until she filed the suit, or if people recognized her name but knew Cohen was full of BS, then it doesn’t matter how false Cohen’s statements were. If, on the other hand, there are people who actually thought less of her because of the monologue (without prompting from her), then she has the chance to show the report is false.

    One thing I’d like to mention is the possible deterrent effect of knowing if you spread false reports about someone, you’ll have to pay. This might actually induce some people not to say false things (or true things it would be too expensive to defend). So the deterrent is either a bug (“chilling effect”) or a feature (deterrence), depending on how you approach it.

  46. Woah!

    Homunculus [in the phial, to WAGNER]:
    Well, Daddy! how are you?

    ~ Goethe, Faust, Part I

  47. Oodles of poolsharks,
    Aaaw, I love you, baby!
    Come to Daddy!

    Ooops! That might leave a stain.

  48. Well, the constitution hasn’t yet been pregnant.

    Bow down to the power of the Rhythm Method.

  49. Quick question. Recently, Dave W. was banned and removed from these boards for spoofing Radley Balko’s name and posting messed up stuff as “Radley Balko” in the comment section. Stevo, do you think his banning was unfair because all he did was mock and attempt to soil the reputation of Radley. If this is not a big deal since it involves affecting the perception of others (and everyone should know that people can post as Lord knows who on the internet), should Reason ignore this and reinstate all the removed posts?

  50. Wow, this is news to me. How long has Sullum been goading goats into sallacious behavior? I always knew his approval of illegal drugs was symptomatic of deeper troubles.

  51. I liked this bit from the lawsuit:

    “That part of the segment which refers to the Plaintiff as having been pregnant by Baron Cohen is libelous on its face. It clearly exposes Plaintiff to hatred, contempt, ridicule and obloquy because it outright imputes unchastity to her, and it describes a sexual relationship with Plaintiff and an assertion of Plaintiff’s pregnancy by Baron Cohen as a result of that sexual relationship.”

    Do you think we’ll get to see Ms Cundle’s batty crease in open court?

  52. Quick question. Recently, Dave W. was banned and removed from these boards for spoofing Radley Balko’s name and posting messed up stuff as “Radley Balko” in the comment section. Stevo, do you think his banning was unfair because all he did was mock and attempt to soil the reputation of Radley. If this is not a big deal since it involves affecting the perception of others (and everyone should know that people can post as Lord knows who on the internet), should Reason ignore this and reinstate all the removed posts?

    I don’t know exactly what Dave W. posted, but I imagine the problem was more than that he mocked and insulted the repuation of Radley Balko. Posters here mock and insult members of the Reason staff all the time. I think the problem is also that if someone posts as “Radley” Balko, the blog administrator, then people get confused between authoritative posts by Radley the admin and his official positions, and the spoofs, making his job of administering and moderating the blog harder.

    To some extent, this also goes beyond “damage to reputation” to outright identity theft and is close to fraud.

    Also, to clarify: I am not sure I agree 100% with Murray Rothbard’s and Jacob’s stance on reputation and libel. I certainly lean that way, though. Rothbard’s argument that libel laws tend to bias things in the favor of those wealthy enough to pursue litigation has a lot of appeal to me.

  53. More like come to dadaism.

  54. There’s a big difference between posing as someone (as the Balko example), and simply making a comment about someone. Especially since this was Ali G, a fictitious character, who claimed to have impregnated Heddi Cundle (for all anybody knew, also a fictitious character). Only if Cohen, not in any character, had made the same claim during a real interview should it be considered in court.

  55. jimmy really, really, really doesn’t screw goats. Not ever.

  56. i love goats. and i love to screw with them. but not screw them. too hairy for my taste.

  57. jimmy never lies. Not ever. Even if he had a reason to lie. Which of course he doesn’t. He told me so himself. He says you can leave your goats safely in his care, and if something happens to them it won’t be his fault. That’s what he told me.

  58. Regardless of the legal aspects, this episode sounds pretty damn funny. I’d like to see how Vidal comported himself during the interview. Anybody got a link to the clip?

  59. “jimmy really, really, really doesn’t screw goats. Not ever.”

    The Reason shills are out in force trying to salvage Sullum’s sullied reputation.

  60. Not that it matters, but I side with the young lady here. Hedi Cundle (man, what a name) was slandered (or libeled, I always get them confused) by this Borat guy. Put me on the jury, and I will make this Kazhakstani pig pay dearly.

  61. Dave W at an internet cafe?

    Mo – another difference, maybe, is that this is Radley’s board, so he can kick us out of his house, if he wants?

    Timothy West – libertarians worship rand?

    Do Rothbardians and Randians get along?

  62. Stevo Darkly,

    Rothbard’s argument that libel laws tend to bias things in the favor of those wealthy enough to pursue litigation has a lot of appeal to me.

    Rich people are probably able to take greater advantage of any law as compared to the less rich. Then again, the rich would likely be able to take better care of themselves in an anarchistic society as well.

  63. I had no idea that Dave W. was banned, BTW.

  64. VM,

    Oh, I thought that there was just a threat of a ban. Maybe I am missing something.

  65. Based on my recollections from a media law class I took some years ago, isn’t the difference here mostly between “public” figures and “private” ones?

    There’s a different standard for making saying things about George W. Bush and saying things about Heddi Cundle.

    Basically, her lawsuit is justified because Sacha Baron Cohen should not be allowed to use his fame to trash a private individual’s good name.

  66. Also, to clarify: I am not sure I agree 100% with Murray Rothbard’s and Jacob’s stance on reputation and libel. I certainly lean that way, though. Rothbard’s argument that libel laws tend to bias things in the favor of those wealthy enough to pursue litigation has a lot of appeal to me.

    Wouldn’t Rothbard’s world of no libel/slander also make it easier for the wealthy to carpet bomb the media. So it would be much, much harder to slander or libel them and much easier to slander or libel someone who couldn’t afford to fight back at all?

    I guess a big part of this is that I disagree 100% with Rothbard’s claim that people only believe stuff they read and hear because of libel laws. We all know someone that is a big gossip and sometimes the gossip is inaccurate at best. Yet most people believe gossip more than the quality of the source warrants. People believe what they hear because people tend to be trusting, not because of slander laws.

  67. There’s a different standard for making saying things about George W. Bush and saying things about Heddi Cundle.

    Not any more, except that Bush will soon be less famous.

    (Btw, I love “making saying things” as a definition of speech!)

  68. Gro:

    dunno. something like all but three of his posts have been deleted from that thread.

    Dunno. It’s Radley’s site, so it’s his rules. I’m good with that, especially since I’m gonna write his name in next presidential election!

    🙂

  69. VM,

    Yeah, I figured something it was something like that. And you are correct.

    __________________________________________

    Well, we all wish you luck in life Dave W.

  70. The funniest thing about slander/libel laws is that the truly rich have fewer protections than the rest of us when it comes to slander or libel. We can sue for libel if one person just says something to another (although you’re going to have to prove damages if you want to win more than a nominal amount. For the truly rich, they’re likely going to fall under the “public figure” rules, where you have to prove malice along with proving that whatever was said was a lie in order to collect anything.

  71. I believe Dan T.s assertion is correct. A different standard is/was applied to people already in the public eye and those in the private…eye?….. This was to protect the relatively powerless. I suppose that one tricky issue would be where to do you draw the line on discrepancies in power/public eyeness- (pseudo-celebrities and the like).

    Has libel law changed recently?

  72. Given the fictional/satirical context, it’s implausible to argue that Cohen was asserting facts about Cundle, just as it would be implausible to argue that he was asserting facts about Kazakhstan in Borat.

    I doubt anybody is concerned with “facts” here – Cohen was ridiculing her. And it’s hard to make the claim that he didn’t mean to ridicule anybody because he intentionally chose the name of a real person that he knew, when a fictional name would have sufficed for the comedy bit.

  73. he intentionally chose the name of a real person that he knew, when a fictional name would have sufficed for the comedy bit.

    there is not a fictional name in the universe as good as heddi cundle for that routine. it makes the lines read like poetry.

  74. Heddi Cundle is such a great name.
    W.C. Fields would tell you the same.

    uh, Burma Shave.

  75. “there is not a fictional name in the universe as good as heddi cundle for that routine. it makes the lines read like poetry”

    How about, “Pussy Galore”?

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