Although the series hasn't even been aired yet, Sacha Baron Cohen's latest television series is already causing controversy as Sheriff Joe Arpaio - who was convicted of criminal contempt of court and was the subject of several lawsuits himself - has said he plans to sue Showtime and Cohen if they portray him in a defamatory manner.
Both Cohen are Arpaio are no strangers to lawsuits, albeit they're on totally different grounds. Arpaio was sued by the US Justice Department for what's been described worst pattern of racial profiling in U.S. history, and eventually resulted in Arpaio's office paying close to $150 million in damages and fees as a result. Cohen, meanwhile, was sued several times after the release of 'Bruno' and 'Borat', with the Kazakh government threatening to sue him at one point - however most all were thrown out or rejected.
Cohen's television series, 'Who Is America?' airs on Showtime in the US and will see Cohen - in disguise, obviously - interview the likes of Dick Cheney, Sarah Palin and the aforementioned Arpaio about a range of issues. In a Facebook post picked up by AP, Arpaio said that he was "involved in several court cases presently to defend my honour and character against vicious false political attacks by liberals like Cohen," and that if Showtime airs "defamatory attack on my character, I may very well be involved in another."
Cohen and Showtime have so far made no comments about Arpaio's threats. 'Who Is America' airs on Channel 4 on Monday night at 9PM.