Gun Rights Advocates Damage The 2A Cause in Sacha Baron Cohen Prank Video

I saw some of the tweets about the latest Sacha Baron Cohen prank video fly on Twitter yesterday, but as I’ve never found the British comedian even remotely funny, I avoided watching the clip. I saw that he’d managed to wrangle some pro-gunners into saying something stupid, but assumed that while it would no doubt be embarrassing for them, it couldn’t possibly be that bad. Right?

Well the joke was on me. It’s every bit that bad, and worse. Watch this, if you can stomach it.

It’s not terribly surprising that the smirking, smarmy Cohen could get a handful of politicians to spout this mindless garbage. They are, by nature, empty vessels with two primary motivations: PR and cash. And they have zero expertise in any real world pursuit or subject, so they’re willing to spout virtually any drivel that comes up on a TelePrompter in front of them as long as they expect that it might get them, well, more PR or cash.

But it’s difficult to comprehend what goes through the minds of people like Philip Van Cleave or Larry Pratt when they’re approached by someone like Cohen or his producers to participate in something like this. Maybe when the little red light goes on, some sort of break occurs along the Cardi B neural pathways between their brains and their mouths, causing them to parrot whatever inanities Cohen puts in front of them.

So assuming this isn’t subsequently revealed to be some kind of elaborate CGI-generated hoax (if only) these two long-time gun rights advocates have irreparably damaged their credibility. How they can continue to do what they’ve been doing for decades with this on their records is anyone’s guess.

But far worse is the damage that they’ve done to the larger cause of gun rights and the reputations of America’s law-abiding gun owners. People who value their rights and fight back against the never-ending attempts to abrogate them.

By allowing themselves to look like clueless buffoons, they’ve tarred all of us. Both of them should have been far smarter than this. That they weren’t has tangibly damaged the Second Amendment cause. Full stop.


  1. avatar Missouri_Mule says:

    I thought we had learned our lesson from Katie Couric!
    We are always representing our cause.
    We are always under attack.

    1. avatar Chris T from KY says:

      I totally agree. There was no need to respond to this fools comments.

      1. avatar Forward Assist says:

        Doubt the vid will move the needle at all. Antis will be anti about it. Pros will be pro about it. And the majority in the middle won’t care.

    2. avatar California Richard says:

      Katie Couric indeed. This was heavilly selectively edited and anybody with half a brain can see Van Cleave is talking about teaching kids gun safety. I think its funny, only because I can see through the edit job and know that SBC is a joke. Katie Couric was more of a threat because she did the same thing, but puts on the pretense of being a serious reporter who people don’t expect these sorts of shenanigans from. This isnt the end of the world. Van Cleave and Pratt aren’t finished. There’s no substance to any of this at any level. Easilly fooled people who are taken in by this have most likely already been brainwashed by the likes of Michael Moore and Katie Couric.

  2. avatar Ironhead says:

    Who is this clown?
    Man that was difficult to watch. Incredibly stupid.

    1. avatar J says:


      Every single time

    2. avatar Jon in CO says:

      It’s Borat, The great Ali G, Bruno (with some massive hesitations).

      Same guy. If you have not the slightest clue who Borat is, then I cannot help you.

      1. avatar Ironhead says:

        I know him, did realize this was the same guy. Thanks.

  3. avatar rc says:

    Ahhhh…I think this was the thing Rob Pincus was writing about maybe 6 months or a year ago, when he blasted out a warning about this scam. I’m pretty sure this was it. They almost roped him into it, but he figured out what was going on shortly after he got on the set and they started asking him to do these ridiculous things. At the time he didn’t know who was really behind it, but knew it originated somewhere out of Hollywood. He said it was a very slick deception and professionally staffed and funded.

    1. avatar No one of consequence says:

      I was thinking of this as well. Thanks for providing the link!

  4. avatar Mmmtacos says:

    I heard he also masqueraded as a disabled veteran in order to get Sarah Palin to interview with him. So she flew out under that pretense, only to find out during the interview that this man pretending to be a disabled veteran was just trying to make her look like a fool. Apparently she walked out during the interview and to top it off they drove her to the wrong airport and she missed her flight back home.

    Class act, and pretty amazing what people like Cohen are driven to do for their cause that they have to throw out common decency and respect for people and veterans alike in order to achieve their goals.

    1. avatar Donkey Lips says:

      If that is true, she (Palin) should have had charges filed against him for stolen valor. He was acting as a veteran and defrauding someone as such to further his career. Doesn’t get more cut and dry than that.

      1. avatar Mister Fleas says:

        She should at least sue him.

      2. avatar Sora says:

        I don’t think Stolen Valor will work since she was not the one giving him tangible benefits, the studio was the one giving him benefits. She only agreed to an interview. Now she might be able to sue them for fraud.

  5. avatar Cruzo1981 says:

    Just wow. I really disliked this. It is a shame our politicians are so easily duped.

    1. avatar Ed says:

      Oh, I dunno… The collective IQ of political types has really taken a nosedive in recent generations. For prime examples, you should see the cavalcade of idiots that somehow rose to the “cream of the crop” slots for Georgia state offices this year – of BOTH parties. We’ve got quite a buffet of lukewarm turds to select for our latest sh!+ sandwich.

    2. avatar DaveR says:

      “Just wow. I really disliked this. It is a shame our politicians are so easily duped.”

      Wait. THAT’s what you’re ashamed of? That they got duped?

      How about instead being ashamed of WHAT they said, or of the fact that they said this while supposedly representing us? How about being ashamed of the fact that we no longer have public officials with integrity or intellect on EITHER side?

  6. avatar Garrison Hall says:

    The only way to combat this crap is to shine very bright light on it. Thanks for this, Dan.

  7. avatar Jonathan-Houston says:

    Meh. It’s mostly funny and not serious. I think the guys were in on the joke. It’s really difficult to get face time with members of Congress. You’re not going to walk in unknown and be welcomed. They had to know it was a joke, or at least have been told it was some kind of skit. Given that, they should have. Retained the originals and the right to approve final version ro be aired.

    1. avatar anonymoose says:

      They were definitely in on the joke. Cringey as it may be, it’s supposed to be comedic.

    2. avatar Jon in CO says:

      Thank you for noticing satire and comedy. Apparently all of the old white guys here are too busy to have watched Borat.

      Watch Borat, understand the mindset of Cohen, and you’ll laugh.

    3. avatar Boba Fett says:

      Dude. They were definitely not in on the joke. If you watch Ali G, or any of his movies, you can tell he does actually like/respect some of the people he interviews (like that one with Boutros Boutros Ghali), but for the most part he’s trying to get them to say ridiculous shit to embarrass them. That’s Cohen’s thing. That’s what he does. His people set up his interviews for him as if they were serious interviews. They make the interviewee think they’re sitting down with someone reputable. Then he gets them to loosen up, and let their guard down so he can make them look like fools.

  8. avatar former water walker says:

    SBC is the scum of the earth. Unforgivable to use stolen valor. Sorry Pratt but I’ve never been impressed with you or GOA. What is it you do by the way?!?

    1. avatar stateisevil says:

      Criticize the NRA

      1. avatar jwm says:

        So, he’s Nanashi?

    2. avatar RandallOfLegend says:

      Stolen Valor? Not in my opinion. Everyone except Palin knew it was a hoax. Politicians shouldn’t be using veterans as tools.

      1. avatar RogueVal says:

        If the only reason you meet with some yahoo is because of their service, then its your problem. Doesn’t make what they do good, but if you’re only doing it for the virtue signalling, then sorry not sorry.

        That seems to part of the bargain, she was using his valor to reflect hers, that fact he had none kinda means she has none too.

  9. avatar Vic Nighthorse says:

    It was natural selection. Sacha Baron Cohen just ate the weakest (dumbest) of the ‘herd’. Hopefully they stay ‘dead’ and off camera.

  10. avatar Sam I Am says:

    Long ago, I escorted ABC’s Ted Koppel during a “research” visit to a major military facility. We were accompanied by an official Public Affairs Officer (PAO). Koppel was very polite, and what we at first considered “professional”. Then….we watched Koppel conduct a one-on-one interview with a DOD civilian employee engaged in launching disaster warnings to the public. We pre-screened the quesitons, looking for items that would result in disclosure of classified information. Koppel was not really concerned much about our reviewing those questions. We found nothing that remotely could cause someone to inadvertently release classified information.

    Sitting in a small office, we watched the Koppel set lighting and sound levels. After everything was set, Koppel began dully reading the prepared questions. The DOD civilian answered them honestly and politely. The ABC camera was focused on the DOD civilian the entire time. Then… happened.

    The ABC camera focused on Koppel, and he re-read the questions in the most taunting, sneering, vicious tone and manner. Note that the ABC camera did not record the astonished facial and body responses of the DOD civilian. Later that week, I saw the interview broadcast on ABC. It was devastating.

    So, what did we learn? We learned to watch filmed interviews very carefully and skeptically. If you ever see an interview conducted where both participants are not in view at the same time, the interview is suspect at best. If you look closely, you can often detect differences in the lighting, the setting, and the pacing of an interview. Be very afraid.

    1. avatar Big Bill says:

      I remember this sort of thing was exposed for the “Daily Show” years ago.
      What we saw as the final interview was carefully edited. After the guest left, the same set was used to show the interviewer asking different questions, with answers to other questions being inserted to make the guest appear to say something entirely different from what was actually said during the interview.

      Moore is a passed master at this. Watch Bowling for Columbine, and carefully note the background changes.

    2. avatar Rosen Otter says:

      Yeah, yanno, guys like Steve Crowder have been doing this for years. The idea that someone would do it back to us? Who’da thought?

      1. avatar Longhaired Redneck says:

        Please feel free to produce evidence to back up your scurrilous accusation against Stephen Crowder. I have watched many hours of Crowder, and numerous other conservative interviewers, and have yet to see a single ambush as illustrated in this case and so many others by “liberal” (actually leftist) interviewers. Conservatives don’t need to ‘make sh!t up’ to get their points across.

  11. avatar JesusLovesGuns says:

    You can not accuse lefties of being snowflakes, and then when they make fun of us, go crying.

    So much crying.

    1. avatar Vic Nighthorse says:

      So,…. you are crying?

  12. avatar TFred says:

    These folks are professional liars. THAT is the story here.

    Should our folks have been smarter? Sure.

    Let’s not eat our own on this one.

    1. avatar Vic Nighthorse says:

      Smarter? They went (or simply demonstrated their current state) ‘full retard’. They are clearly intellectually unreliable. I posit that it is best not to associate at all with such people. They can only drag you down with them.

    2. avatar CZJay says:

      I need my pilot to be able to fly the plane. I have to be able to sleep rather than worrying the plane is going to crash once I take my eyes off the pilot.

  13. avatar Quasimofo says:

    I caught this on Showtime last night, and Van Cleave, etc., should be ashamed of themselves for participating in this. Cringeworthy TV, and an embarrassing setback to the cause of supporting the 2A. How naive and culturally clueless (Cardi B neural pathways?) do you have to be to go along with this kind of thing? These old white guys need to get outside their bubbles and get some street smarts. Van Cleave claims to have gotten wise to this during the course of filming, but even so, why continue at that point when you should know all it takes is crafty post-production to make things go from bad to worse? Why not walk away, or at least get verbally confrontational in an effort to mess with their plans?

  14. avatar AKA says:

    To rational people, the Left comes off as clueless buffoons almost daily and, sadly, they are still around.

    It is unfortunate when it happens to our community but it isn’t the end of the world…

    Who trusts Hollywood or the media these days anyway?

  15. avatar HP says:

    It really doesn’t matter as much as you might think. The types of people who watch Sacha Cohen movies are the same types who watch Michael Moore movies and think that they are witnessing something profound. They’re the same types of people who view Jon Stewart as a demigod, and tune into Stephen Colbert’s Late Show, and think that that’s how the majority of Americans feel. They like Samantha Bee. John Oliver. Trevor Noah. Sarah Silverman. They want to see something that confirms their prejudices and sallow rage. Well, mission accomplished. Sacha Cohen obviously loathes America, that much was evident that one time I tried to sit through his “Borat..” movie. He’s a foreigner who makes money off of mocking this country, and plenty of liberal Americans with diseased minds are keen to eat it up, because they hate America, it’s constitution, and it’s culture as well.

    Notice there isn’t a clip from this movie with anyone from the NRA? It doesn’t appear they would deign to speak with a “comedian” like Cohen. I guarantee you he tried to get them to be a part of this. And for what it’s worth, most gun owners I know have no idea who Larry Pratt or GOA are anyway.

  16. avatar Barnbwt says:

    Maybe they should start dispatching con-men to rip off and entrap Sacha Cohen?

    1. avatar Vic Nighthorse says:

      In a way, he did us a favor. We need to recognize who our idiots are. Targeting him would also consume resources better spent elsewhere and indicate that we argue the same way he does.

  17. avatar Billy says:

    I tried hard to defend the people in this video or find some way to save the 2A community from looking like idiots. In the end, my response was, “Well, it’s a good thing we still have all those facts and statistics on our side!”

  18. avatar Timothy says:

    These guys are fools for playing along with Sasha Baron Cohen. But I don’t think any average citizens believe the NRA or politicians really wanna get Kindergarten kids armed up with RPGs. This came across as silly more than anything

    Also, I watched Cohen’s old movies. He makes fun of everyone. Check out clips of him telling feminists that scientists from Kazakhstan proved that a woman’s brain is only a third the size of man’s.

  19. avatar pwrserge says:

    Pretty sure that this would fall under fraudulent misrepresentation.

    1. avatar RogueVal says:

      Pretty sure he allowed stupid people to express their stupidity publicly. Matt Gaetz didn’t get owned, Pincus didn’t.

    2. avatar Ph2 says:

      Sort of like the 2004 MMR autism study where the lead statistician of the study admitted they altered and destroyed data showing a MMR vaccine and autism connection? That kind of fraudulent misrepresentation commitard?

    3. avatar pg2 says:

      Silence of the commitards…….

  20. avatar raptor jesus says:

    Any politician or “activist” dumb enough to support arming 4 year olds in the classroom, on a camera, deserves what this does to their reputation.

  21. avatar Canon says:

    Watched the show last night, as Mr. Nighthorse noted, SBC did us a favor exposing the morons in our 2A camp. At least crazy Bernie looked at Cohen’s character like he was nuts and Sarah Palin allegedly walked out. VanCleave and Trent Lott were complete buffoons.

    1. avatar B-Rad says:

      And a lot of the commenters didn’t watch it, he was not easy on the lefties either, that was pretty rough too.

      What he did was illuminate that we have a large number of American’s, in privileged positions that are mentally defective.

  22. I’m an attorney and member of the Virginia Citizens Defense League. Let’s lay out some facts this blog post misses. Let’s be fair in a way that Sasha Baron Cohen isn’t.

    1.) Virginia Citizens Defense League President Philip Van Cleave is the victim of a con, plain and simple. For years Sasha Baron Cohen has duped people into all manner of absurdities. Cohen’s good at it. He has a whole team behind him. He’s left a trail of similar victims.
    2.) In response to Cohen, Van Cleave deserves our full support. It should go without saying that Van Cleave is a long-time activist with a solid track record. Throwing Van Cleave under the bus because he fell victim to an elaborate prank is unfair.
    3.) You think you’re too smart to fall for a Cohen con? Maybe. But unless you’ve never been divorced, never lost money in a bad investment, stand up to your boss every time he does something idiotic, and never fail to immediately address every wrong you encounter, you’ll want to remember how easy it is for a person to get duped by someone with bad intent. If you haven’t read Van Cleave’s description of the interview that he wrote a few months back, read it. It’s a fascinating look into Cohen’s dishonesty machine.
    4.) Sasha Baron Cohen’s whole gimmick is to sucker people into seemingly supporting absurd positions. In response to Cohen’s smear, the Virginia Citizens Defense League and its supporters need to communicate what they stand for–and in a big way. I’m confident they will.

    1. avatar Leroy Jenkins says:


    2. avatar Gralnok says:

      Pretty much this comment.

      Everyone has been pranked or conned at some point, and in this case, the best thing would be to look at it, laugh, say it was a great joke, then move on. Anything retaliatory would just look bad.

    3. avatar Rob Pincus says:

      Wait… So, the OFFICIAL story from VCDL and PVC is now changing to represent him as a victim?

      Because he told me (and everyone else) that he knew what was going on and just went along with it.

      Which is it?

      Either way, he proved (again) that he isn’t bright enough to represent gun owners. I am glad he has gone silent and I hope he stays that way… except to retire. If not, VCDL might as well just disband. Please do let us know how any amount of money that VCDL has at that time gets divided up though…

      Thanks, RJP

  23. avatar Gralnok says:

    It burns at first, but then after a while, that burn is replaced with rueful admiration and laughter. It’s normal to feel this after getting pranked. Everyone falls for something at some point or another.

    1. avatar Rob Pincus says:

      Larry Pratt wasn’t pranked into being a reprehensible buffoon… he was just given an opportunity to show it.

  24. avatar RA-15 says:


  25. avatar Tim W. says:

    Bad news. Like gun violence and this article, sells. Good news, like this was a spoof/comedy, and defensive gun use really works, does not. So the author took the low road and castigated the victims… so his article will sell.

  26. avatar Nanashi says:

    “never found the British comedian even remotely funny,”

    Never? Zimmerman clearly hasn’t seen any of Monty Python’s stuff

    1. avatar CarlosT says:

      Sacha Baron Cohen was in Life of Brian? At approximately eight years old?

    2. Was Cohen in a Monty Python movie? Hmm…let me check IMDB.

      Obtuse much?

      1. avatar Nanashi says:

        My apologies. I missed the “the”

  27. avatar Middleman says:

    Suppose you’re not an ardent 2nd supporter or anti-gun crusader. Naturally you wonder, what do these people really believe, if they were completely open and honest. Well, now they have exhibit A.

  28. avatar neiowa says:

    I want to know what idiot/s at INS issue visas to “entertainers”. We are short of untalented starving “comedians” and “actors” in the US so we need to import them from the UK/Euroland? There are no mooslem or Mexican “comedians” and “actors” available? Racist it is.

    1. avatar Rob Pincus says:

      Really? That’s your take-away….. Blame the INS?

      You are part of the problem, Sir.

  29. avatar CZJay says:

    I mention Israel… I get censored. How else are we to point of the facts and make progress if there are things that we are not allowed to mention?

    I wonder what Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership would do.

  30. avatar IS THAT FROWNED UPON says:

    As of this moment I am officially excluding myself out of this thing of “making all of us look like fools”… says who?

    Why should I be tagged by anything that anyone else does or says?
    Am I that co-dependent that I am supposed to feel the “embarrassment or (insert your preferred feeling here) of anyone else but mine?

    I am always in awe about this “making us look like fools” because someone pisses out of bounds.

    No. It is not my problem if someone does something that looks foolish or stupid. Why? Because I can’t control anybody’s behavior or verbal statements. That’s why.

    SBC can puff all he wants, he did not interview me, he is not changing anyone’s mind, he has the right to be an @sshole and show it. There are no fence “straddlers” any more and if there are and all it takes is something like this exercise in the 1st amendment to change them into the opposing camp then I don’t want them in my camp, because they can’t think on their own and need a comedian to change their mind for them.

  31. avatar Shire-man says:

    Nobody cares but us. Even the fellow travellers are giving his new show poor marks. It probably won’t make it two seasons. Honestly, I thought Borat hanged himself years ago until I heard about this new show.

  32. avatar P-Dog says:

    I was just reading Van Cleave’s response made in February after he discovered he was set up.

    The good: he knew he was set up only a few minutes in.
    The bad: he still participated in it, because he “wanted to get to the bottom of it”.

    I think that was the worst decision he made. How many people will read his account on Ammoland vs what they see on Showtime? The ratio will be like 1:100,000. Even if his intentions of getting to the bottom of it were genuine (And I do believe it was genuine), it’s too late, he’s already covered himself in mud, and there’s simply no way to un-eff the eff-up. Jordan Peterson he ain’t.

    The only solace for us is that this is a post-Trump-Election age. By that I mean it’s entirely possible to have your reputation tarnished but still emerge victorious due to a polarized populace. Most people who watch the Cohen special will be left-wingers who wouldn’t be open to joining the gun community. Most gun folks will not watch the special, and will probably be on the offensive against Cohen. Cohen isn’t as influential as his Borat days. So that’s the silver lining.

    I only hope in the future, people simply just walk away from these traps. If you HAVE to remain, always bring your own recorder, and record ALL of it, regardless of what it says on the contract. Never trust these scum.

    1. avatar B-Rad says:

      “I wanted to get to the bottom of it” is the worst possible excuse available.

    2. avatar Rob Pincus says:

      I do not believe PVC at all on this after seeing the video…. not the first time he’s blown a media appearance.

  33. avatar FedUp says:

    July 16, Armed American Radio broadcast:

    Listen to Gottlieb throw Pratt under the bus and tell everybody that we need to distance ourselves from Larry (we need to shun him, is that it, Alan?). Then think about the times that little weasel in a bow tie has tried to sell us out in order to be seen in the media as reasonable and compromising.

    Gottlieb seems happy that he can help smear some mud on the leadership of a competing 2A group.

    We need to stick together and not pile on and further victimize Borat’s victims here.

    1. avatar Mark says:

      SAF has done far more for our rights than GOA could ever hope. The Cody Wilson victory is a fucking grand slam of epic greatness. It makes gun control moot.

    2. avatar Rob Pincus says:

      They were victims of themselves.

      I applaud Alan for getting in front of this and taking the right position in regard to Pratt and Van Cleave. The former is a terrible representative of a responsible American Gun Owner and the latter is just not bright enough to keep up.

  34. avatar Mark says:

    I watched the video and I think it is a big bag of nothing. It is so over the top ridiculous that anyone who believes it wasn’t ever going to be on our side anyway. Meanwhile, Kavanaugh is about to be confirmed and Cody Wilson won his case. The anti gun left is shitting in their pants and a soon to be forgotten skit by Sacha Baron Cohen isn’t going to change a damn thing for our gun rights.

    1. avatar Rob Pincus says:

      You think Larry Pratt and Van Cleave weren’t on our side to begin with?

      They obviously believed it…. and bought into it.

      1. avatar Mark says:

        Rob, I was referring to the average citizens viewing it. Pratt and Van Cleave were certainly duped that’s for sure.

  35. avatar jjimmyjomga says:

    pretty funny stuff imho…i cannot believe anyone being interviewed could have fallen, or anyone viewing would not see the silliness. funy

    1. avatar CZJay says:

      They were told it’s for Israel and they will get a great friend of Israel award for doing it. Their blind allegiance for Israel was exploited by a bunch of Hollywood people. Because Republicans are such hardcore supporters of Israel it was an easy weakness for a bunch of anti-gun people to use to fool pro-gun people into giving away all their credibility for exchange of a pat on the back from the Jewish people.

      It’s a huge blow to GOA.

    2. avatar Phil Wilson says:

      Funny as in strange, perhaps. I saw a couple of GOP people on TV last night, and they are trying to play this off as appreciating the joke, “haha, good one, you got us, haha.”


      Of course there will be times when members of Congress parrot the party line, you expect that. But this is stupid. Congress is utterly dysfunctional. I’ve been astounded at that poor empty-headed tool the Dems are running for New York’s 14th, and laughing constantly at people like Maxine Waters and Nancy Pelosi. But it’s no joke when you realize members of the other party are utter tools as well. My faith in Congress is at an all time low. And I didn’t have much faith to begin with.

      1. avatar Phil Wilson says:

        too late to edit, but:

        “Of course there will be times when members of Congress parrot the party line, you expect that”

        To be clear, arming preshcolers isn’t even the party line.

  36. avatar Erik Weisz says:

    The premise is not such a stretch for some people. I was hunting quail at 5 years old, and shot an armed intruder in my home at 9 with my mom’s .38 revolver – I was home alone and followed the protocols my father had laid out for me. When I was in High School, there were as many trucks in the parking lot with guns in the back window as not. Rural-raised children are often much more mature and responsible than urban dwellers, and exponentially so the further in the past you go. Arming 4-12 yo’s for security seems like it would be obviously asinine to anyone over 13, though Hitler had some well-trained and effective teens (see: werewolves) defending Germany in the last days of the war.

    1. avatar Rob Pincus says:

      Got any links to verify that story?

      1. avatar pg2 says:

        Lol, asking for anything here except for links to movie clips is pissing in the wind.

  37. avatar Craig in IA says:


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