Watch: Borat fans raise money for babysitter Jeanise Jones
Sacha Baron Cohen has donated $100,000 (£77,000) to the community of the babysitter depicted in his prank-based comedy Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.
The money will be distributed to organisations within the Oklahoma hometown of Jeanise Jones by the Ebenezer Baptist Church, after Jones won hearts with her appearance in the movie.
The 62-year-old was featured in scenes alongside actor Maria Bakalova, who was in character as Borat’s teenage daughter Tutar.
Jones attempted to warn the character, whom she believed to be a 15-year-old girl, against cosmetic surgery and going along with her father’s plan to marry her to a wealthy American.
Earlier this week, Jones’s pastor Derrick Scobey launched a crowdfunding page with the aim of providing her with more compensation than the $3,600 (£2,800) she was reportedly paid by the production.
According to People, Baron Cohen himself has now stepped in with the sizeable cash injection, which will go towards the church’s efforts to provide food, housing and support to those in the local area.
Scobey said: “I was blown away but not surprised because I was told about what type of heart this man has.
“Maybe it's a little risqué, some of the things in the movie, but he has a good heart."
The crowdfunding campaign Scobey started has raised more than $140,000 (£108,000) — at the time of writing — since it was launched five days ago.
Jones, who is a mother of three and a grandmother of six and lost her job as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been assisting the church’s housing efforts in recent months.
The community has been affected by ice storms and subsequent power outages.
Scobey said: “While all these people around the world are loving how [Jones is] the moral compass of the movie, she's sitting here serving people in the dark and in the cold.”
Jones told the New York Post this week that she felt “betrayed” after learning of the prank, having spent months after the shoot believing Tutar to be a real young woman at risk.
She said: “We were concerned. We were up there praying for her and asking God to help her and we were doing what we thought was the Christian thing to do.”
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm came as a surprise to the entire world when it was announced in September, having been filmed mostly in secret.
The film follows the titular journalist as he attempts to bribe officials within Donald Trump’s inner circle, in order to secure a favourable position for Kazakhstan as one of the president’s international buddies.
The movie is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video now, having secured a release ahead of the presidential election next week in a deal possibly worth as much as $80m (£62m).
Critics have received the sequel warmly, with its Rotten Tomatoes approval score currently sat at 85% and the critical consensus noting that the movie is a “sharp tool for exposing the most misguided — or utterly repugnant — corners of American culture”.
Watch: Kazakhstan tourist board uses Borat catchphrase