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Rebel Wilson memoir to be published in UK with Sacha Baron Cohen passages redacted

Rebel Wilson memoir to be published in UK with Sacha Baron Cohen passages redacted

The UK edition of Australian actor Rebel Wilson’s memoir will be published with redacted passages relating to her experience on set with Sacha Baron Cohen.

In a chapter titled Sacha Baron Cohen and Other Assholes, Wilson recounts filming the 2016 comedy film Grimsby – released in the US as The Brothers Grimsby – alongside Baron Cohen. “SBC summoned me via a production assistant saying that I was needed to film an additional scene,” she writes.

“What followed was the worst experience of my professional life. An incident that left me feeling bullied, humiliated, and compromised. It can’t be printed here due to peculiarities of the law in England and Wales”. The rest of the page of the book is blacked out, and there are several further lines redacted on the following pages.

A woman reading a copy of Rebel Rising by Rebel Wilson, with pages redacted for legal reasons.View image in fullscreen

“We are publishing every page, but for legal reasons, in the UK edition, we are redacting most of one page with some other small redactions and an explanatory note,” a spokesperson for HarperCollins told the Guardian. “Those sections are a very small part of a much bigger story.”

The memoir, Rebel Rising, will be out in the UK on Thursday, after its US release earlier this month. The UK edition was due to be released on 4 April, but was pushed back “to coincide with Rebel Wilson’s press tours”, according to the publisher. Publication was also delayed in Australia.

Last month, representatives for Baron Cohen rejected the allegations of bad behaviour on set. “While we appreciate the importance of speaking out, these demonstrably false claims are directly contradicted by extensive detailed evidence, including contemporaneous documents, film footage, and eyewitness accounts from those present before, during and after the production of The Brothers Grimsby,” they said.

Commenting on the redaction in the UK edition, Baron Cohen’s representatives said: “Harper Collins did not fact check this chapter in the book prior to publication and took the sensible but terribly belated step of deleting Rebel Wilson’s defamatory claims once presented with evidence that they were false.

“Printing falsehoods is against the law in the UK and Australia; this is not a ‘peculiarity’ as Ms Wilson said, but a legal principle that has existed for many hundreds of years.

“This is a clear victory for Sacha Baron Cohen and confirms what we said from the beginning – that this is demonstrably false, in a shameful and failed effort to sell books.”

In the memoir, Wilson also writes that every time she would speak to Baron Cohen, he would mention that he wanted her to “go naked in a future scene”. She told him that she did not do nudity. “I was constantly saying no to him, and he didn’t like it.”

Another passage refers to an email Wilson said she received which stated that Baron Cohen wanted her to fly to London for “reshoots” for a “graphic sex scene”. She said she called a meeting with Baron Cohen, the writers and the director, Louis Leterrier, to express what she “would and wouldn’t be comfortable doing” in the scene. “The attitude I felt from them was: Rebel Wilson is causing an issue. I’m the problem. Why won’t I just film the graphic sex scene as written, where because I’m so overweight the bed falls through the floor?” she wrote in the book. “Eventually […] I agreed to shoot something so I could get the hell out of this awkward room.”

  • Rebel Rising by Rebel Wilson (HarperCollins Publishers, £25). To support the Guardian and Observer, order your copy at guardianbookshop.com. Delivery charges may apply.

Source: theguardian.com