Sacha Baron Cohen uses "pedophile detector," calls Roy Moore a pedophile to his face

Watch Sacha Baron Cohen prank failed Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published July 30, 2018 10:27AM (EDT)

Roy Moore in "Who Is America?" (Showtime)
Roy Moore in "Who Is America?" (Showtime)

Sacha Baron Cohen's new show "Who Is America?" is making headlines again, this time with its scathingly biting attack on former Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.

Moore, you may recall, wound up losing in a red-state upset to Democratic candidate Doug Jones due to widely corroborated reports that he had sought sexual relationships with minors over a period of many years. Despite these stories, Moore did not drop out of the race and continued to receive the support of President Donald Trump and his followers, even refusing to concede the election to Jones for weeks after his defeat.

Now he has been humiliated once again — this time by Sacha Baron Cohen playing one of his characters, Israeli Gen. Erran Morad.

After showing clips of news reports describing the sexual misconduct accusations against Moore — as well as a damning clip of Trump endorsing Moore's candidacy in spite of those claims — Cohen sets up Moore early on for humiliation by goading him into describing Alabama as a state that had always been known for its emphasis on equality and freedom. Although Moore initially made this claim to explain Alabama's support for Israel, Cohen gave him an opportunity to clarify himself by asking whether "race" was among the factors that Alabamans had always been progressive on. Moore, to say the least, did not rise to the occasion.

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The meat of Cohen's interview, however, comes when he has Moore take a test which he claimed was based on Israeli technology that determines whether someone is a "pervert." After babbling a bunch of pseudo-science at the credulous Moore, Cohen takes a wand and passes it over his own body. When he then casually passes it over Moore's body, it starts beeping — indicating, according to Cohen's previous explanation, that it has identified Moore as a pedophile.

"It must be faulty," Cohen explains. "It's malfunctioning. I'm sure it will do the same with the other guy here." After trying the device on another man and himself, on both occasions without it beeping, he then passes it over Moore only to have it beep again.

"Is this your jacket?" Cohen asks, with Moore confirming that it is. "Did you lend the jacket to somebody else?" Cohen follows up, with Moore admitting that he did not.

"I've been married for 33. I've never had an accusation of such things," Moore says to Cohen, who protests that he's not accusing Moore. Moore then insists that he is not a sex offender, with Cohen pretending to be confused at the situation.

The Alabama Republican eventually cut the conversation off and walked away.

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By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a professional writer whose work has appeared in multiple national media outlets since 2012 and exclusively at Salon since 2016. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012, was a guest on Fox Business in 2019, repeatedly warned of Trump's impending refusal to concede during the 2020 election, spoke at the Commonwealth Club of California in 2021, was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022 and appeared on NPR in 2023. His diverse interests are reflected in his interviews including: President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981), Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (1999-2001), animal scientist and autism activist Temple Grandin, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (1997-2001), director Jason Reitman ("The Front Runner"), inventor Ernő Rubik, comedian Bill Burr ("F Is for Family"), novelist James Patterson ("The President's Daughter"), epidemiologist Monica Gandhi, theoretical cosmologist Janna Levin, voice actor Rob Paulsen ("Animaniacs"), mRNA vaccine pioneer Katalin Karikó, philosopher of science Vinciane Despret, actor George Takei ("Star Trek"), climatologist Michael E. Mann, World War II historian Joshua Levine (consultant to "Dunkirk"), Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (2013-present), dog cognition researcher Alexandra Horowitz, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson (2012, 2016), comedian and writer Larry Charles ("Seinfeld"), seismologist John Vidale, Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman (2000), Ambassador Michael McFaul (2012-2014), economist Richard Wolff, director Kevin Greutert ("Saw VI"), model Liskula Cohen, actor Rodger Bumpass ("SpongeBob Squarepants"), Senator John Hickenlooper (2021-present), Senator Martin Heinrich (2013-present), Egyptologist Richard Parkinson, Rep. Eric Swalwell (2013-present), Fox News host Tucker Carlson, actor R. J. Mitte ("Breaking Bad"), theoretical physicist Avi Loeb, biologist and genomics entrepreneur William Haseltine, comedian David Cross ("Scary Movie 2"), linguistics consultant Paul Frommer ("Avatar"), Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (2007-2015), computer engineer and Internet co-inventor Leonard Kleinrock and right-wing insurrectionist Roger Stone.

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Donald Trump Roy Moore Sacha Baron Cohen Who Is America