Kinderguardians. It’s one of the key words to emerge from Sacha Baron Cohen’s “Who Is America?” series, which debuts on Showtime on July 15, 2018.
Word is starting to trickle out about which political figures were likely “duped” and about various skits featured on the show. “Kinderguardians” is a skit in which Cohen reportedly convinced top political figures to agree to a program that would train kindergartners with guns in a first responders type of class to help stop school shootings. Those who fell for it reportedly include Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), and former Republican Congressmen Trent Lott and Joe Walsh.
You can watch video of some of the kinderguardian remarks from various political figures below.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Politicians Thought Sacha Baron Cohen Was an ‘Israeli Security Expert’
According to The Los Angeles Times, kinderguardians is a program “promoted by Baron Cohen as an Israeli security expert, with its child-friendly ‘puppy pistol’ and ‘Uzi-corn.'” Baron Cohen is known for assuming fake personas to convince people to engage in interviews. Colonel Erran Morad is the character Baron Cohen plays in the skit.
In the skit, Cohen, in character, convinces two members of the American gun lobby to endorse the program before moving on to current and former Republican members of Congress. Larry Pratt, emeritus executive director of the Gun Lobby of America, is one of the gun rights group leaders to endorse the kinderguardian scheme. You can learn more about Pratt here. Philip Van Cleave, the president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, agrees in the skit to appear in a child’s television advertisement holding a puppy pistol. “Just remember to point Puppy Pistol’s mouth right at the middle of the bad man,” Van Cleave says in the video. The segment is titled “Song Time with Gunny Rabbit.”
On Facebook, Van Cleave wrote, “For better or for worse, I decided that I would play along with the scheme so I could find out who was behind this and where this was going. I figured if I was right about this being a set up, I could blow the whistle and get a warning out to the gun-rights community across the country to protect as many people as possible and maybe derail this attack.”
As the Daily Beast puts it, the fake program is supposed to be a fix for school shootings and “aims to put guns in the hands of toddlers.” One politician who wouldn’t agree to endorse it? Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Republican from Florida. “Typically members of Congress don’t just hear a story about a program and indicate whether they support it,” he says. The program is also described as a “fake Israeli defense program.”
Others are not so hesitant. You can watch some of the politicians’ remarks in the above video. For example, Trent Lott says in the video, “I support the kinderguardians program. We in America would be wise to implement it.”
Rohrabacher says in the video that having young people trained might actually make everyone safer. Rep. Joe Wilson said a 3-year-old couldn’t defend himself or herself from an assault rifle with a Hello Kitty pencil case. “Our Founding Fathers didn’t put an age limit on the Second Amendment,” he says in the video. Walsh says the “intensive” three-week kinderguardian course “introduces specially selected children” from age 12 to 4 to pistols, rifles, and semi-automatics.
Walsh has spoken out about the skit. “He gets people to say stupid things because he lies to them,” Walsh said, explaining that “he was invited to receive an award for his pro-Israel views in Washington, D.C….While there, he sat down with a documentary crew who asked him to endorse several Israeli innovations.” The program “supposedly armed preschool children with weapons to defend themselves against terrorists.”
On Twitter, some people were laughing over the skit.
There is actually a company called KinderGuardian that monitors how much time people’s children spend playing games. It’s entirely unrelated to the Cohen show. Kinderguardian is also the name of an anti-abduction system people use to protect their kids. Those are real. The Cohen program proposal is not.
One man on Twitter wasn’t so sure it would never happen, though, writing, “‘Kinderguardians’ is genius comedy but let’s be real, republicans are going to write that bill & pass it unanimously along a party line vote.”
Showtime Has Called the Program the ‘Most Dangerous Show in the History of Television’
Showtime called the program “the most dangerous show in the history of television,” and it’s been described as a “satirical half-hour series,” but some critics say it appears to be designed to mock conservatives and Donald Trump supporters. Fox News reported that a source claimed it was “a Hollywood hit job on GOP” complete with a conspiracy-theory-laden fake website and at least one character named Dr. Billy Wayne Ruddick, supposedly played by Cohen.
However, Daily Beast notes that there is also a liberal character in the show in the form of “an NPR-listening, pussy hat-wearing progressive who is working through his grief over Hillary Clinton’s loss and his guilt about being a white, cisgender male by traveling the country to speak with Trump supporters.”
Other indications point to politicians from both parties falling prey to Cohen’s skits as Bernie Sanders is reportedly featured. The first person to reveal that she was duped was a conservative, though: Former Alaska governor and John McCain’s vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Instagram footage indicates George W. Bush’s former Vice President Dick Cheney was probably hoodwinked too.
The Show Runs for Seven Episodes
Sacha Baron Cohen is a comedian best known for his appearances as “Borat” and on “Da Ali G Show.” The show’s website contains a promo that features Cheney saying, “I hope you’ll tune in next week for an interview with me.” According to Variety, the show has seven episodes. It was written and directed by Sacha Baron Cohen and was kept a mystery until days before the launch.
According to CBS News, “The first episode of ‘Who is America?’ will air on Showtime at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Sunday, July 15, and debut on streaming, online and on demand Sunday at midnight. Subsequent episodes will air on Sundays at 10 p.m. ET/PT.”
Reports Indie Wire: “‘Who Is America?’ premieres on streaming, online and On Demand this Sunday, July 15 at midnight ET (9 p.m. PT July 14), and will premiere on air that same night at 10 p.m. ET.”
The tease for the show says, “Who Is America? You know Ali G, Bruno, and Borat, but this summer Sacha Baron Cohen returns in a new series as you’ve never, ever seen him before. Who Is America? Series premiere Sunday, July 15 at 10pm ET/PT.” The premise of the show has been kept a mystery but what’s leaked out so far indicates it may be similar to past Cohen skits in which he tricked prominent people into sitting for interviews. It appears to have a political/American government focus and features Cohen in character/disguise.
Sarah Palin Called the Skit ‘Truly Sick’ & Said a Man She Now Thinks Was Cohen Disguised Himself as a Disabled U.S. Veteran
Sarah Palin wrote a lengthy post on Facebook on July 10, 2018 in which she claimed that she sat through a “long interview” thinking a man she now suspects was Sacha Baron Cohen was a disabled veteran. Here’s what she wrote in the post:
Yup – we were duped. Ya’ got me, Sacha. Feel better now?
I join a long list of American public personalities who have fallen victim to the evil, exploitive, sick ‘humor’ of the British ‘comedian’ Sacha Baron Cohen, enabled and sponsored by CBS/Showtime.
This ‘legit opportunity’ to honor American Vets and contribute to a ‘legit Showtime historical documentary’ was requested of me via a speakers bureau.
For my interview, my daughter and I were asked to travel across the country where Cohen (I presume) had heavily disguised himself as a disabled US Veteran, fake wheelchair and all. Out of respect for what I was led to believe would be a thoughtful discussion with someone who had served in uniform, I sat through a long ‘interview’ full of Hollywoodism’s disrespect and sarcasm – but finally had enough and literally, physically removed my mic and walked out, much to Cohen’s chagrin. The disrespect of our US military and middle-class Americans via Cohen’s foreign commentaries under the guise of interview questions was perverse.
Here is my challenge, shallow Sacha boy: go ahead – air the footage. Experience tells us it will be heavily edited, not pretty, and intended to humiliate.
The challenge is to Cohen, CBS and Showtime: donate all proceeds to a charitable group that actually respects and supports American Vets. Mock politicians and innocent public personalities all you want, if that lets you sleep at night, but HOW DARE YOU mock those who have fought and served our country.
And as an aside, for further insight into the wealthy corporate enablers of this kind of ‘joke’, I’ll add that after great costs on our part in time and resources to contribute to their “documentary” the Cohen/CBS/Showtime production team purposefully dropped my daughter and me off at the wrong Washington, DC airport after the fake interview, knowing we’d miss all flights back home to Alaska. After refusing to take our calls to help get us out of the bind they’d put us in for three days, I wrote this off as yet another example of the sick nature that is media-slash-entertainment today.
Feel good and manly about your M.O., Sacha?
By the way, my daughter thinks you’re a piece of ****, Sacha. Every honorable American Vet should feel the same.
Daily Mail says the Palin situation happened in November 2017 and she was with Piper, her teenage daughter.
In a tweet, Matt Drudge, who runs the popular conservative website The Drudge Report, claimed that Sacha Baron Cohen had hoodwinked prominent figures on both sides of the political aisle, including Bernie Sanders and Howard Dean as well as some media figures and a general (David Petraeus).
“Sacha Baron Cohen at it again!” Drudge tweeted. “This time for CBS/SHOWTIME. Lots of tricks played. Both Republicans and Democrats are getting caught up in the madness. Sacha has finked Cheney, Palin, Howard Dean, Alberto Gonzales, Bernie, Trent Lott, Patraeus (sic), Ted Koppel, and more… BEWARE!”
Roy Moore has now admitted he was duped.
The show promises to “explore the diverse individuals, from the infamous to the unknown across the political and cultural spectrum, who populate the unique nation.” It’s been kept under wraps.
However, Fox reported that, according to an unnamed insider, “Cohen went undercover to nail Republicans. Total hit piece on Dick Cheney, Sheriff Joe, Roy Moore and others. None of these people seemed to know they were duped. Total secret.”
Sacha Baron Cohen posted a video snippet on Instagram that appears to show an interview with former Vice President Dick Cheney.
“Imagine if Sacha Baron Cohen had been undercover secretly filming a new show for a year,” the video starts. A heavily accented voice asks Cheney, who is sitting in a chair, “Dick Cheney is it possible to sign my waterboard kit?”
“Sure,” Cheney says.
The words “coming soon” appear on the screen, and then Cheney says, “That’s a first. That’s the first time I’ve ever signed a waterboard.”
Cohen Shared a Video Mocking Donald Trump & Trump University on Social Media
Cohen’s Instagram post before the Cheney video mocks President Donald Trump and Trump University, but it’s not clear how it figures into Cohen’s new show. In that post, Trump trash talks Cohen in a video. “This third-rate character named Sacha Baron Cohen, I only wish he that would’ve been punched in the face so many times right now, he’d be in a hospital,” Trump said in part.
“A message from your President @realDonaldTrump on Independence Day,” Cohen tweeted with the video. According to CBS, the video of Trump trashing Cohen dates to 2012 and related to Cohen dumping an urn of supposed ashes on Ryan Seacrest at the Oscars.
“Sacha graduates soon,” the Trump video concludes, before flashing the logo for Trump University.
Sacha Cohen Baron has interviewed Trump before:
Whether he managed to interview Trump again for the new show is yet to be seen.