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Joe Walsh, a one-term U.S. congressman turned conservative radio host, believes he is the second victim of a prank show Sacha Baron Cohen is producing for Showtime called Who Is America?
Walsh on Tuesday night shared his own story, a few hours after former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said on Facebook that she was duped into flying across the country to participate in a “legit Showtime historical documentary” that turned out to be a ruse. Palin, in her post, accused Cohen of dressing up as a disabled U.S. veteran for the scene. (Her claims could not be verified, and the pay cabler has not responded to the allegations.)
“Dressing up as a wounded veteran is absolutely stolen valor, his tactics are disgusting – I know cause I too was duped,” Walsh wrote on Twitter. He then shared a story about being interviewed before attending a “pro-Israel dinner that honored defenders of Israel,” adding #BoycottShowtime.
Walsh, who did not specify that Showtime or Cohen was behind the incident, described what happened. “I was rushed to the studio, production was a mess, I sat down and we started talking pro-Israel stuff, Israeli defense, and then out of left field the interviewer starts talking about how children should defend themselves against terrorist attacks,” he wrote.
Walsh described the interview, which ended abruptly, as the strangest of his life, and tweeted a picture of an award he received. He also detailed how the production had him reading off a Teleprompter.
As a “side note,” Walsh added: “I totally get @SachaBaronCohen’s gig. He’s a comedian, and he can be funny, but mocking a disabled veteran to spoof @SarahPalinUSA is a serious matter. I am just telling you what I encountered – it was much of the same she experienced.”
Walsh was not on a list of political and media figures that conservative publisher Matt Drudge on Monday said have been duped by the comedian’s show.
Legendary ABC News broadcaster Ted Koppel, who was mentioned by Drudge, said Tuesday in an email to The Hollywood Reporter that he does not believe he was involved. “I’m not exactly clear on what it means to have been ‘finked’; but if it involves a personal encounter with Mr. Cohen, I am unaware of it having happened,” he wrote.
Representatives for former Sen. Trent Lott, former attorney general Alberto Gonzales and Gen. David Petraeus, all mentioned by Drudge as victims of the show, have not yet responded to requests for comment on their involvement.
Who Is America? is set to debut Sunday night on Showtime. According to a trailer, former Vice President Dick Cheney was filmed for the show, though it’s not clear whether he, too, was deceived into participating.
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