Sacha Baron Cohen wins appeals court ruling over ex-girlfriend joke

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Sacha Baron Cohen wins appeals court ruling over ex-girlfriend joke

Thu Apr 08, 2010 @ 11:43AM PST

By Eriq Gardner

P5 What's funnier than Sacha Baron Cohen poking fun at the U.S. Constitution by comparing it to the way his ex-girlfriend was always "trying to amend herself" with tattoos?

How about when Cohen's ex-girlfriend sues the comedian and "Da Ali G Show" distributor Channel Four Television for defamation and infliction of emotional distress?

Or maybe Channel Four relying on a team of outsourced lawyers from India rather than U.S. attorneys?

Those Indian lawyers have found success in the case, first at a California District Court and then on Tuesday at the California Court of Appeal. The decision is being hailed as the first appellate ruling of its kind — a victory for the free speech rights of comedians who wish to make fun of ex-girlfriends in the midst of calling Gore Vidal a world-famous hairstylist and questioning whether Denzel Washington lives in George Washington's former Mount Vernon home.

What won't be funny is the look on the faces of American lawyers as studios decide to give more legal work to lawyers from India.

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to

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