Pranked by Sacha Baron Cohen, He Was as Shocked as the Rest of Us

Daniel Roberts, a gun rights advocate, said he had no clue he had been duped into a humiliating appearance on “Who Is America?” until the episode aired.

Comments: 85

  1. He sounds like a reasonable man, if not rather litigious. I certainly don't agree with his pro-gun stance or militia mentality, but his explanation for engagement with what he thought was Israeli experts was viable. He should chalk it up to experience and forget it.

  2. @nom de guerre He can't "chalk it up to experience" b/c he can't learn from experience. Those who have no skepticism are condemned to repeat performance...

  3. I don't approve of what this guy supports. That he could be easily coaxed into doing most anything because a fake "Israeli expert" told him to -- pathetic. But I don't much like what Cohen does either: public humiliation is fine for murderers and thieves, including our political elites. BUT What good does it do and what truths does it illuminate to humiliate little guys like this? It's a version of Candid Camera spiked with vitriol.

  4. @cheryl I agree with you in principle, but this man isn't really a little guy - he's the founder and president of Youth Shooters of America. He's an active and passionate part of the massive gun problem here in the US, and deserves to be called out for his gross lack of sensibility when it comes to gun control in this country.

  5. If even one American man stops to think before he puts a ‘sex device’ in his mouth, then Cohen, and the American people win.

  6. @cheryl Sorry Cheryl, they bit the target....

  7. We all believe what we want to believe, often without thinking. Perhaps this episode illustrates the drawbacks of that strategy.

  8. @Apparently functional That is the definition of gullible.

  9. The question that needs an answer from Mr. Roberts isn't why he ended up on Baron Cohen's show, but why he played along. Sacha Baron Cohen is doing this nation a public service not only in exposing these frauds for what they are, but showing in very graphic detail the depths of their stupidity and perversity. These people are so corrupt and so enamored with fame, they'll do things most people would refuse to be caught dead doing in public. Daniel Roberts and every other conservative public figure who has appeared on Who Is America are corrupt in every way, and devoid of the most basic wisdom. This is who you listen to, America. Time to rethink things? ---

  10. @Rima Regas - Sadly, the more likely reaction is to close ranks, express stronger loyalty to the conservative movement and attack the messenger.

  11. @Rima Regas he didn;t get Bernie Sanders

  12. I have only watched one episode,briefly. (Not the one in this article) I am incredulous that any participant would believe that it is real. The way the star is made up, the way he talks, the things he says,should suggest to any reasonable person that it is a hoax! The one I did watch depicted him having dinner with two people in their home. I thought, there really cannot be anyone who would take this man seriously. Then I thought, they probably are Trump supporters,and changed the channel.

  13. Mr. Roberts here joins a vast majority of people who live under an umbrella that excuses any behavior or expenditure as long as it is against terrorism. Yesterday the train I was on hit somebody (says someone on Twitter but nowhere else) near the Botanical Gardens in The Bronx. It, and many other deaths in New York City, was not reported. About a hundred uniformed responders with about 20 trucks were on the scene while we filed out of the back of the train. I figured it was a bomb from the presence of so many firefighters, ambulances and police and shocked at how complacent all were to calmly single file their way across to another platform without one hint of what was really going on. I still don't know if I was walking over the body of a crushed human or a bomb or if someone inadvertently brushed the train leaving the station. The "anti-terror" measures have become some kind of excuse for everything. National Security trumps Fish and Game or agricultural concerns now. Mr. Roberts, who in their right mind does what you did?

  14. This seems to fall under the aegis of the many psychology experiments wherein we put someone in a white jacket and he becomes a doctor and we respond to the jacket without skepticism. The experiment becomes useful in exposing our too easy capitulation to what we perceive as authority rather than questioning the "authority." Mr. Roberts may feel foolish for his too easy capitulation to a prank, but some of us become more disturbed by watching "the message" twist itself into a grotesque in an effort to further its cause.

  15. @R. B. I think you made a good point. Those who are disturbed by watching it had better be registered and vote!

  16. This points to a deep problem: Many people are so submissive to perceived authority, that they abdicate critical thinking and do whatever the authority figure says. This pattern is particularly, although not exclusively, evident among conservatives. Donald Trump is right, that he could should shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue, and most of his followers would stay with him.

  17. @S Taylor I suspect it's a human problem, but that it's far worse among those who "need" to have a strong authority figure "in charge" because they are so fearful of change. It pops up among those who follow gurus, on the left and on the right. It happens whenever people jettison common sense and their own ability to reason to be part of a group - to follow any party line. The old Sheldon Kopp title, "If you meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him" kind of sums up the opposite approach.

  18. On a whim, I asked my dad, a long time conservative, if he still listened to to Rush Limbaugh like he did back in the 90's. "No, I stopped back in the early 2000's" he replied. "It's entertainment, not real political dialogue. It wasn't helping anyone, given how over the top he is." To me, Cohen's in the same boat. This is entertainment, a gag, a prank, enjoyment for those who agree with Cohen's point of view. It's not going to change anyone's mind, particularly not those of differing opinions. Treat it as over the top comedy, and it's fine. Treat it as more than that and, well... It's not going to help anyone.

  19. We may not like the opinions of some of our fellow Americans, but to humiliate anyone in the way that this man has been humiliated is totally uncalled for. Have we no decency? There is not a person alive who has not succumbed to some form of tomfoolery . We would all like to believe that we are smart enough not to get caught up in this kind of malicious prank. But as humans we are all fully capable. I do not agree with this man's opinions but as a human being he is due some respect. If we cannot see that, then all is lost. We are all in this together.

  20. I don't particularly care for humiliation humor and think there are better ways to get a point across. That being said, the point here is quite relevant. 63,000,000 ordinary Americans got duped with tomfoolery by an actor with no better scruples than Sacha Baron Cohen. The difference between Daniel Roberts and Trump is that Roberts seems to be rational. The 40% who still support Trump are not.

  21. @Cheryl Some people might believe that putting a deadly weapon into the hands of a 6-year old is intrinsically more indecent than playing a prank on an adult.

  22. @Cheryl This man chose to openly display his home containing his array of his decorative allegiance to violence involving children discharging firearms. It is akin to a movie with Robert Duvall and Michael Caine titled Secondhand Lions where they go out of their way to teach a young boy to use firearms to kill adversaries. You'd like it.

  23. I am unsure how I feel about this show. I hope this uncertainty isn’t confused as a defense for the guests who are pranked. Their behavior and beliefs are troublesome and, in many cases, abhorrent. Nonetheless, the premise of the show is based on dishonesty. Using dishonesty to expose bad behavior? In my opinion, while entertaining and interesting, it seems to fall into the realm of unethical. At the very least, one can’t help but hope that it will encourage people to re-evaluate their beliefs, and think before they speak.

  24. Nobody can be forced to embarrass themselves on camera. What amazes me about this show is how many prominent Americans are convinced by the ploys on the show. Sometimes they reveal something about the character of these people, what they believe, and what their priorities are. The cameras aren't hidden and the people agree to take part in a show in advance, so I don't consider them to be victims of a prank and there are participants from across the political spectrum, not a focus on conservatives. I wonder if the individuals were paid for their participation.

  25. S.B. Cohen, is completely over the top, but not nearly so as gun rights maniacs. It perfectly exemplifies the futility of trying to instill sensible gun regulation in this country. It's a tribalism as deep as any religion. The vote, means nothing anymore, so what power is left? The party of individual rights is the Democrats, but the Republicans seize on all issues were cognitive dissonance can be twisted to be aligned with patriotism. The poor and uneducated Republican will never get sick, or his gun will never harm his own family member. If the Democrats think that somehow that has changed and the blue wave will crush the Republicans in November they are the next ones to be duped by Mr. Cohen.

  26. Rural conservatives tend to be very earnest, they live in irony-free zones. Coupled with being in front of a camera, which has a powerful disarming effect, they become ideal subjects for this type of prank. This is also why they are so easily scammed by con men like Trump, they are child-like in their innocence. When they repeatedly hear that they are being duped this only causes them to dig in and stick by their beliefs.

  27. @Monty Hall pot calling the kettle black. As if lefties havent dug in on their opinions. Everyone has an explanation as to why rural America voted Trump. Most of them are subtle insults tbh. If you have to break down why with insults and banter then you are just as dug in on your opinions as them. And neither side will give an inch. So congratulations on stating the obvious maybe not be so biased next time if your trying to make some kind point to someone with opposing views.

  28. If the First Amendment is going to serve its purpose in keeping those in power accountable, and in helping to uncover their lies and misrepresentations, then it must not only uncover the facts that contradict the lies, it must also allow us to counter the misrepresentations and images pushed forward by the con men who try to deceive us. In this case, this guy presents himself as a knowledgeable expert, a man who should be heard because he holds some expertise and 'truth'. It is perfectly legitimate to counter this image by showing him to be a know-nothing clown, someone who is underseving of our attention and who should not be trusted, especially on the issue of guns and violence where he claims expertise. In the 1980s, Jerry Fallwell tried to sell himself as a morally-superior and pious man, deserving of our trust and right to be telling America how to live. His attacks on LGBTQ and many more were vicious and cruel. Larry Flynt attacked this overblown and deceiptful image (look up the fake magazine ad, it is still funny after all these years), and showed Fallwell to be nothing more than a man, petty and obsessed about protecting his image, in the courts and in the media. By publicly fighting Flynt's right to fredom of speech in a petty legal battle where mudslinging was the rule, Fallwell lost his status as a morally-superior Christian, and became widely seen as nothing more than a man protecting his 'brand' (and con game) against the high principle of free speech.

  29. The architects of right-wing America can't think. Cohen didn't invent this sentiment. He merely proved it is true.

  30. I cannot watch Sacha Baron-Cohen humiliate people. When I do, it makes me feel dirty and mean if I take pleasure in it. I don't want to be the kind of person who takes pleasure in other people's shame.

  31. @Paul Ruszczyk I do.

  32. Not much empathy for Mr. Roberts, or anyone else who has appeared on Cohen's show. Last I checked, no one stopped these folks from doing any background research before agreeing to sit with his characters. Cohen simply provides a platform for these people, and what they do with it is up to them. Ted Koppel didn't make a fool of himself, and neither did the art dealer in the second episode. If they showed some personal responsibility, like they demand from "moochers" and "takers" on the left, they wouldn't be in the position of being humiliated on national television.

  33. I have never seen anything more cringe-worthy than the segment featuring Daniel Roberts. It is difficult to believe he never suspected he was being duped until you consider that this is someone who thinks children in schools should carry firearms.

  34. he was humiliated by this prank? i'd say he did a much better job of humiliating himself with his comments regarding gun laws in the piers morgan interview. only a complete dupe would perform the salacious act he did on camera regardless of the circumstances. adds new meaning about taking a bite out of crime.....

  35. I don’t think Sasha Baron Cohen is funny. I’ve never thought he was funny. I won’t be watching the show. But people like Mr. Roberts, with views so extreme that they clearly haven’t put an ounce of thought into what they believe make an easy target for that type of humor. Sorry, guy. You deserved what you got.

  36. What a surprise. That someone who listens to Alex Jones’ conspiracy theories and subscribes to the notion that more guns in society results in fewer crimes reveals himself to be gullible—bigly gullible, in fact. Thank you, Sacha Baron Cohen.

  37. I believe this gives us insights into the thinking of NRA and Trump supporters. My question is "what is Robert's opinion of Putin and Russia helping Trump get elected?"

  38. This show feels like a psychology experiment to see how poorly educated people respond to claims of authority, but instead of analyzing the results medically it mocks people publicly for the whole country to see.

  39. I am a supporter of the 2nd Amendment and of the yet hopefully to come the 34th or 35th (extended right to carry arms EVERYWHERE AND ALWAYS), but I have until now heard neither of Sacha Baron Cohen, nor of Mr. Daniel Roberts. Not to be duped, stay clear of reportasters and journalistasters.

  40. Mr. Roberts should have asked this Israeli Counter Terrorism Expert to prove his marksmanship skills on the firing range (as in the first Jack Reacher movie). He would have quickly realized that things weren't as he assumed.

  41. what continues to be alarming is the huge number of willfully ignorant people in our country today. Conspiracy theories, pizza joints kidnapping woman, shootings are staged by actors? Its like some kind of mass hysteria and its perpetuated by Mr. Trump-its surreal.

  42. Cohen has been influencing people into saying and doing humiliating, stupid things they might not otherwise do. I'm sure Russian Propaganda had no influence on them doing humiliating, stupid things with their vote though...

  43. @anonimitie Good point, anonimitie.

  44. Serves him right.

  45. I haven't seen the segment yet, but I think it's a good lesson in why you should not blindly trust people in authority. To be so enamored of the IDF that you are willing to put a sex toy in your mouth? I would hope that I would be able to stop and say "Wait a second..."

  46. I’m a fan of the show but not these segments. The interviews are great. He gets the person to say or agree with something ridiculous, like the earlier one where they’re discussing giving guns to 3 years olds (but not 2 year olds because of “the terrible twos”). But just tricking some gullible guy who likes guns to act like an idiot is not my idea of comedy,

  47. So now we know that people who believe the nonsense scare tactics of the NRA can be duped into believing nonsense scare tactics. Not exactly a news flash. Better to keep a focus on politicians rather than truck drivers — and, BTW, lets improve public education so we don’t have so many gullible dopes running around (and voting).

  48. The explaination for why Sacha Baron Cohen has such an easy time getting these people to humiliate themselves... "all empty souls tend toward extreme positions." W. B. Yeats I don't like Mr. Cohens schtick, but without large number of profoundly rabid and stupid extremist like Daniel Roberts, Cheney, and Jason Spenser, there could be no show. He was not able to get the same from Bernie Sanders and a number of others who were smart enough to see through this.

  49. @John MD But then, how smart must one be to see through SBC?

  50. So Mr. Roberts bit a sex toy because he was told doing so would stop an Islamic terrorist? The result might be humiliation but isn't the point of Cohen's production to show how gullible Trump voters are? And it doesn't sound like Mr. Roberts has cottoned on to that issue even now.

  51. Cohen and Showtime should pay this man to attend a seminar on questioning authority. If fake U.S. Marines came to his town and told him to grab a flamethrower, what wouldn't he burn down?

  52. What bothers me is what this television program is telling us about the cognitive skills and savvy of many of our “leaders.” A state representative exposes himself and shouts, “I’ll make you a homosexual! USA! USA!” He also uses vile, racist language. Dick Cheney signs a waterboard. “Kinderguardians.” Now this. Just when you thought the US couldn’t be more shamed, Daniel Roberts comes along. These people make the entire country look bad. I don’t know what to do to stop this beyond voting and encouraging us all to be peaceful counter-protesters as needed. (And yet Bernie Sanders came out of his Baron Cohen interview with his integrity intact. Why am I not surprised?)

  53. The genius of the Erran Morad character is that it exploits the ignorance many American hawks harbor about the effectiveness and tactics of the vaunted Israeli military.

  54. I loved the Ali G show as it generally seemed to present a more level and fair playing field for its targets, and was very funny in doing so. While some came across as obnoxious louts (Andy Rooney stood out, as well as reality tv star Trump, and racists in an AZ bar were allowed their moment), others came across more positiviely as they would be allowed to roll with the punches in a bemused fashion (Christine Todd Whitman did as I recall). This show, however, has a tendency to create a slanted playing field that often entraps its victims into doing dumb things (like this guy). While I don't agree with his somewhat outrageous views, manipulating him into looking like a jackass solely because he holds those views does nothing positive and isn't very funny. Just like that dopey reality TV star a couple of episodes ago - yeah, she's really dumb, congrats on getting her to read crazy stuff and publicly humiliating her. If you want to humiliate people, do it to the mean-spirited, like this year's group of blatant racists from Arizona opposed to the building of a mosque. Go after the Sarah Palin's who are out there - she is certainly no smarter than some of these targets but her general hatefulness leads her to deserve whatever is heading her way.

  55. @Rich What is the difference between this guy, who thinks biting a sex toy will stop an Islamic terrorist and the "blatant racists from Arizona opposed to the building of a mosque"?

  56. @carole Wow, you really can't see the difference. You really can't see the difference between someone being gullible and someone being actively racist?

  57. @carole Difficult to say.

  58. Pretty much shows you how stupid this guy is. He doesn't think a six foot giant of a guy who is trying to disguise his voice is not some sort of prankster needs to have his eyes and ears checked. And very important to stay away from firearms also if he can't see and hear very well.

  59. Don't play with sex toys in your mouth while the camera is rolling and expect it to come out well unless your name is Stormy Daniels. Didn't his mamaw tell him that?

  60. lol.

  61. Far right gun and religious fanatics deserve every bit of humiliation they receive. Their extremism only amplifies the anti-American sentiment felt worldwide thanks to Trump.

  62. This is a guy who worships guns and the military. He is ignorant, if nothing else. I've seen the episodes and the bad makeup on Cohen is obvious. I'm glad he got pranked. It is showing just how stupid these people are.

  63. Forrest Gump would know what to say: "Stupid is as stupid does." And such people are allowed to own GUNS? And even to carry them in public, concealed (in some states)? Stupid is as stupid does.

  64. Another weak response from the American media to Sacha exposing the dystopia that is the US. Where are the hard questions for this guy? CNN were the same after CONGRESSMEN called for guns for toddlers, giving a luvvy interview to the marks, instead of grilling them for their insane views. Although the series frequently uses gratuitous humour for cheap laughs, to the rest of the world it shows us what we already know from the election and support of trump by the biggest party in the State- the US is a corrupt, uneducated moribund mess

  65. Sacha Baron Cohen is Allen Funt on steroids! It’s entertainment with the sarcasm. If you do not want to be duped on camera, then stay off the show!

  66. Watched this show with my husband and son and the whole time we each turn to each other and say, “they know there is a camera -right?” It is incredible that these people will prostrate themselves and humiliate themselves for a donation or exposure. They are all vile and deserve the sunlight treatment they get

  67. Here's the video

  68. Yes its difficult to excuse these pranks as real humor but they show the true nature of these folks. They are able to choose not to be stupid and do ridiculous things. They have the underlying belief in these ideas and they have the ignorance to go forward. I really have no sympathy for their beliefs and their stupidity. To accept guns as they do, without any reservations, is dangerous and unacceptable.

  69. "The use of the — what’s the polite way to describe this? — the use of the sexual device as a prop, in my mind, it made sense." Well ... I have to ask ... do terrorists and insurgents normally have their 'packages' hanging out like that, when they are beheading infidels? If not, then how would one gain access, so to speak, and use that particular tactic to defeat the terrorist/insurgent? Particularly when one is kneeling, about to be whacked with a scimitar? I will admit that while I am greatly impressed with Mr. Roberts' knowledge of tactics and firearms, I am most impressed with his consummate skills as a musician. He demonstrates great talent playing the pink piccolo.

  70. Let's just pause for a moment and ask ourselves: How did Sacha Baron Cohen even find out about most of the people we see on his show? That's right: through mass media. Most of these people had already appeared in print, radio, television (e.g., Mr. Roberts) or the web. And it was in these venues that the people participated voluntarily. I might also presume that they welcomed the exposure that mass media provided. After all, it was a means to get their word out. Now we are told that these people have been humiliated by Cohen. What may come as a surprise to at least some of these people is that many of us not only disagree with their views (while respecting their right to them), we - the viewers - have already been humiliated by their exposure in mass media. We are the ones who are shaking our heads and asking ourselves "What has come of this country, if it produces people who have such views? Are there any other countries populated by people who wish to arm three-year olds?" Cohen asks the same question with the video collage that precedes each set of weekly interviews: we see/hear a famous excerpt from Kennedy's inauguration speech; men on the moon; and perhaps the most famous of FDRs words. These are then followed by a cringeworthy video of Donald Trump. Cut. Indeed, "What has come of this once (could have been) great country?", Cohen asks. And he lets his interviewees (knowingly interviewed on camera) answer.

  71. What amazes me about the show is the 'Pull" that Israel has on the rubes who agree to be trained in "counter terrorism" techniques. The common thread seems to be unbridled fear of the terrorist on every corner and the belief that Israel is a nation that must be supported even if the supporters have no idea of the nuance of the political situation. I'm can't wait for Sarah Palin's episode to be aired.

  72. Isn't it more embarrassing that he thinks bump stocks and fully automatic assault rifles should be available to everyone and neither regulated nor controlled even after an mass murder like the one in Las Vegas?

  73. Proof that a gun can't even save a tough guy from public humiliation. Thoughts and prayers. Oh, and Merry Christmas!

  74. @kevinaitch Greetings, lover of all things Bojack Horseman. Thoughts+prayers+Merry Xmas to you.

  75. Leftists love Cohen because he makes it seem like "real life" absurd behavior and characters are only on the right. As opposed to depictions of progressive behavior in a made-up show like Portlandia where everything's scripted and exaggerated for laughs. Given the mediascape of today, I realize that Cohen is limited in being able to "prank" the left without instantly being branded a hatemonger (even if he were to do it to, say, some ridiculous, extremist form of a SJW that just about every normal American would roll his eyes at). Not saying it can't be funny but Cohen is approximating what the Russians did by interfering in the campaign: using unsuspecting Americans to stoke divisions, foment self-righteousness, highlight differences, etc. I'd encourage those on the left to realize that there are plenty of wackos on their side as well. By the way, Masha Gessen's article here is right on point:

  76. I have seen the video twice because it IS hilariously absurd, and Mr. Roberts doesn't have a clue. It's almost Rabelaisian. I do not understand how Mr. Roberts could be so gullible, and I have the same point of view about the other American ideologues that have been pranked on "Who Is America?" Some of Mr. Cohen's pranks on the series work well; others don't. The ones that work well do so because they are such a send-up of of a type of American with bizarre beliefs, fears, preoccupations, and points of view. Those beliefs are protected by the Constitution. Thank god they are not protected from pranks or satire

  77. More proof that the far right has no sense of humor. Let it go and laugh it off. You'll be the bigger man for it.

  78. There are few things as revolting then a bunch of people patting themselves on the back for being so much smarter than those other people. The dynamic going on with most of the commenters here who think this guy's humiliation is just great really isn't that different than the dynamic that goes on with Trump's supporters who are so entertained by Trump sticking it to those that they see as "other". I'm kinda sick of the smug self righteous hate on both sides.

  79. There are just some things that are beyond satire or embarrassment...

  80. This guy gives gun owners a bad name, whether or not he was pranked, and his palpable lack of awareness makes him a danger to society.

  81. Its a fact: 65% off all gun deaths are ones committing suicide. 5 year studies of all gun deaths in the US. The statistics are there. How many more are drunken family and friends? or heated arguments over best friends, or parking spots? Gotta love a lobby.

  82. Second Amendment good. First Amendment bad. Good luck with that lawsuit, buddy. It's not going to go anywhere.

  83. Keep humiliating conservatives Sasha ! Great job.

  84. If you can get duped into SBC’s shenanigans, you can get duped into believing the Battle Flag of Northern Virginia stands for “heritage,” or that a reality show con artist will help America by hiring his rich cronies, or that destroying the EPA is good for the planet, or that you should storm a pizza parlor to root out imaginary Clintonite sex traffickers. These people need to take a long look in the mirror and realized they’ve been conned. A comedy show is the least of their problems.

  85. Why are gun rights enthusiasts so easily fooled by Cohen's claim of being in the Israeli military? For a shocking reason - the prevalence of Israeli firms training U.S. police. It's a profitable industry and one well documented.