January 20, 2007 / 4:37 AM / 13 years ago

Romanian villagers sue in NY over role in "Borat"

Borat celebrates with his neighbours his planned visit to America in a scene from "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan" courtesy of 20th Century Fox. REUTERS/Handout

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Residents of a Romanian village sued the Hollywood studio behind the top-grossing U.S. film “Borat” on Monday, claiming the film wrongly depicted them as rapists, abortionists, prostitutes and thieves.

The two plaintiffs — Nicolae Todorache and Spiridom Ciorebea — demanded $30 million in damages and sought to stop future screenings of the controversial comedy unless the scenes showing them were removed, according to the lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court.

Todorache, a one-armed grandfather, who is from the Southern Romanian village of Glod which starred as Borat’s hometown in Kazakhstan, was persuaded by the film’s crews into wearing a sex-toy prosthesis, according to the lawsuit.

Both Todorache and Ciorebea said they were duped into thinking the film, whose full title is “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,” was a documentary about poverty in Romania, not a satire, the suit said.

Listed as defendants in the suit are News Corp. unit Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., the studio that produced the movie, as well as other production and distribution companies.

Gregg Brilliant, a spokesman for Twentieth Century Fox, said there was no truth to any of the allegations.

“While we haven’t seen the lawsuit, nobody in Romania was told the movie was a documentary,” he said. “The village was used as a set to portray a fictional village in Kazakhstan; it was clearly a satire.”

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