Why Rebel Wilson Is Finally Speaking Out About Sacha Baron Cohen

Rebel branded her Grimsby co-star an 'asshole'

Rebel Wilson

by Isobel Lewis |
Published on

Rebel Wilson’s memoir hasn’t even hit shelves yet, and it’s already ruffling feathers in Hollywood. The Pitch Perfect star made headlines this week after revealing that one chapter of her soon-to-be-released autobiography Rebel Rising is dedicated to one particularly Hollywood ‘asshole’ – and she’s now named him.

In an Instagram video posted earlier in March, Rebel shared a piece of advice she was given when she first entered the entertainment industry. ‘People were like, “I have a no assholes policy, meaning I don’t work with assholes.’ I was like, ‘Oh yeah. I mean that sounds sensible, logical,”’ Rebel, 44, said. ‘Then it really sunk in what they were meaning by that: older people in the industry.’ Rebel then revealed that she’d worked with one particular ‘massive asshole’ on a film, and had dedicated Chapter 23 of her book to him.

Initially, Australian actor Rebel intended to keep the co-star’s identity a secret until the book’s release. But on Monday 25 March, she claimed that it was her Grimsby co-star Sacha Baron Cohen. What made her out Cohen, the British actor best known for playing Ali G and Borat? According to Rebel, Sacha’s legal team had “threatened” her and were trying to stop the book being released.

In a since-deleted Instagram Story seen by Us Weekly, Rebel wrote, ‘I will not be bullied or silenced with high priced lawyer or PR crisis managers. The ‘asshole’ that I am talking about in ONE CHAPTER of my book is Sasha Baron Cohen.’'

Sacha, the 52-year-old husband of actress Isla Fisher, has responded to Rebel’s claims. In a statement shared with Us Weekly, his team said, ‘While we appreciate the importance of speaking out, these demonstrably false claims are directly contradicted by extensive detailed evidence, including contemporaneous documents, film footage, and eyewitness accounts from those present before, during and after the production of Grimsby.’

In response, Rebel shared a new Instagram Story on Tuesday 26 March saying that she was 'working hard behind the scenes to make sure my book comes out'.

What did Rebel Wilson say about Sacha Baron Cohen in her book?

Rebel Wilson
Wilson's book hits shelves in April ©Brendon Thorne/Getty Images for AFI

Rebel’s book doesn’t hit shelves until Thursday 4 April, meaning the contents of the book are yet to be revealed. However, teasing the book’s release on Instagram in March, Rebel said in a video, ‘Do you wanna know why I have a “no assholes” policy now with people I work with? … Well it’s all in the book: REBEL RISING available for pre-order now… oh and YES I name the asshole!’

On Tuesday 26 March, she thanked fans for their support, and added, 'PS: My book is not ABOUT this guy – this is one chapter!'

When did Sacha Baron Cohen and Rebel Wilson star together in Grimsby?

Rebel and Sacha worked together in 2014 on Grimsby, a comedy written by Sacha about the town in north-east England. Sacha played football hooligan Kyle Alan ‘Nobby’ Butcher, with Rebel playing his girlfriend Dawn.

Sacha Baron Cohen
Sacha has denied the allegations ©Michael Buckner/Variety via Getty Images

The film hit cinemas in 2016, when it was released under the name The Brothers Grimsby internationally. It was near-universally panned by critics, many of whom called out the film for its use of working class stereotypes.

What has Rebel Wilson said about working with Sacha Baron Cohen on Grimsby?

Rebel initially alleged that Sacha had sexually harassed her on the set of Grimsby back in 2014. Appearing in Australian radio show The Kyle and Jackie O Show, she said, ‘Sacha is so outrageous. Every day he’s like, “Just go naked, it will be funny.” And I’m, like, “No!” Sacha and I have the same agent in America and I’m like, “Sacha, I’m going to call our agent Sharon and tell her how much you are harassing me.”’

During the final scene, things allegedly got even more uncomfortable. ‘He was like, “Rebel can you just stick your finger up my butt?” And I went, “What do you mean Sacha? That’s not in the script.” And he’s like, “Look, I’ll just pull down my pants, you just stick your finger up my butt, it’ll be a really funny bit.”’

Sacha has never responded to these allegations.

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