Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Culture

Sacha Baron Cohen pranked Giuliani — and Giuliani called the cops

When he’s not crusading against Facebook, Sacha Baron Cohen appears to be busy working on a new season of his Showtime series “Who Is America?”

His latest mark? America’s Mayor, Rudy Giuliani, whom Baron Cohen surprised in a lace bathing suit, prompting Giuliani to alert the police. Giuliani said he didn’t know it was Baron Cohen until later, but believes he escaped from his prank unscathed.

We’re not so sure.

The encounter happened on July 7, when Giuliani went to the Mark Hotel in Manhattan to sit for a prearranged interview about the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. The former New York mayor said he was offered payment for his time, which he said would go to a Staten Island charity called the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation.

After he’d been sitting down for a few minutes with an interviewer, Giuliani recounted to Page Six, “This guy comes running in, wearing a crazy, what I would say was a pink transgender outfit.”

Giuliani might be alone in calling it that. An outfit has no gender, and therefore, cannot be trans. Additionally, trans people do not wear uniforms. It appears that Giuliani might have been trying to say that he thought Baron Cohen was a trans person, but instead said something horribly transphobic, not to mention peculiar.

There’s also the possibility Giuliani meant to say that Cohen had dressed in drag — something he himself did in 2000 with his buddy and current client Donald Trump — and forgot the word, or believed it was no longer politically correct. But who can really know Rudy’s heart?

But, on to Baron Cohen’s outfit: Giuliani said that the person who interrupted his interview was dressed in a “pink bikini, with lace, underneath a translucent mesh top, it looked absurd. He had the beard, bare legs, and wasn’t what I would call distractingly attractive.”

Giuliani didn’t clock that it was Baron Cohen, whom he said was “yelling and screaming,” and thought that his intrusion was some kind of “scam” or “shake-down.” So, Giuliani responded as you might expect a man who built his reputation as a “tough on crime” mayor to and rang the NYPD, at which point, Baron Cohen fled the scene.

Observers told Page Six they saw Baron Cohen “sprinting” out of the hotel and down East 77th Street in a bathrobe, but didn’t see any cops on his trail. When Giuliani later realized who his bikini-clad gate-crasher was, he said “I thought about all the people he previously fooled and I felt good about myself because he didn’t get me.”

But didn’t he, though? Isn’t getting Giuliani to go on record referring to someone’s garb as a “pink transgender outfit” enough for Baron Cohen to say “mission accomplished?”

While Giuliani may not like what he sees if his interaction with Baron Cohen ever reaches airwaves, for now, he counts himself a fan.

“I am a fan of some of his movies, ‘Borat’ in particular, because I’ve been to Kazakhstan,” Giuliani said, before breaking out his best Borat imitation. “‘She is my sister. She is number four prostitute in all of Kazakhstan,’” he quotes. “That was pretty funny.”

PJ Grisar is the Forward’s culture reporter. He can be reached at [email protected]

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.