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Sacha Baron Cohen sued over "Bruno" stunt

 Sacha Baron Cohen is dressed as
Sacha Baron Cohen is dressed as 'Bruno' as he arrives at the 2009 MTV Movie Awards in Los Angeles May 31, 2009. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
— image credit: Reuters

By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A California woman has sued British actor Sacha Baron Cohen accusing him of assault in an encounter she said occurred during filming for the upcoming movie "Bruno" that left her in a wheelchair.

In her lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on May 22 and first reported by celebrity website TMZ.com on Wednesday, Richelle Olson said that in 2007 Cohen appeared at her charity bingo game in his guise as Bruno, a flamboyantly gay Austrian.

Olson's lawsuit said that at the bingo game Cohen pushed her and she fell, and then she was surrounded by his cameramen, who attacked and filmed her.

She later escaped to a side room, where she fainted, hit her head and suffered bleeding in her brain, the lawsuit said. She now uses a wheelchair.

In her lawsuit, Olson also named as a defendant NBC Universal, the studio behind "Bruno," which opens on July 10. It was unclear whether the incident would appear in the film.

Representatives for Cohen and NBC Universal, which is a unit of General Electric Co, declined to comment on Olson's allegations.

The lawsuit accuses Cohen, NBC Universal and other companies involved in the production of assault, battery, fraudulent misrepresentation and other charges. It seeks unspecified damages.

Cohen starred in the 2006 surprise hit comedy "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan" which made more than $260 million at worldwide box offices and featured him in the role of a naive and rude journalist from Kazakhstan named Borat, who has unscripted meetings with dumbstruck Americans.

"Borat" attracted several lawsuits from individuals Cohen encountered while shooting that film. Both Borat and Bruno are characters Cohen invented for his "Da Ali G Show," which aired on British and American television.

(Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Cynthia Osterman)

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