Sony remains '100 percent supportive' of 'The Brothers Grimsby' and its maker
Comedian and provocateur Sacha Baron Cohen is sparking controversy once again with his new film The Brothers Grimsby, which includes scenes depicting both presidential candidate Donald Trump and Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe contracting AIDS.
One scene features a lookalike actor playing Radcliffe being sprayed in the mouth with blood from an HIV-positive African boy who has been accidentally shot. A later scene incorporating stock footage involves another stray bullet that strikes Radcliffe and sprays Trump, who is then reported to have AIDS by a news anchor in the film.
Grimsby doesn’t open until March 11 in North America, but it is currently playing in the U.K. and other foreign territories, and the Huffington Post reported Thursday that Sony Pictures is “in a panic” over the scenes in question.
A Sony spokesperson refuted the report, however, telling EW the studio is “100 percent supportive of the filmmaker and the film” and denying the notion that Baron Cohen was pressured to cut any material from Grimsby.
Representatives for Baron Cohen, Trump, and Radcliffe did not immediately respond to EW’s requests for comment.
Baron Cohen and Trump have crossed paths — and swords — in the past. In 2003, the comedian pitched Trump his invention of an “ice cream glove” while undercover for Da Ali G Show; Trump quickly walked out on the interview, a move he would later brag about on Twitter.
In 2012, Trump called Baron Cohen “a moron who should have been pummeled” in response to an Oscars red carpet stunt. And a few months ago Baron Cohen, in character as his Borat alter ego, suggested on Jimmy Kimmel Live that Trump has “a brain like a female chicken.”
Sony is no stranger to controversial films, having weathered a devastating cyber-attack before the release of North Korea-themed assassination comedy The Interview in 2014.
Additional reporting by Joe McGovern.