A Georgia state representative is facing backlash from his colleagues and others after he was the butt of a joke — literally — on Sacha Baron Cohen's "Who is America?" on Sunday. Republican state Rep. Jason Spencer bared his buttocks and yelled racial slurs on the Showtime series. Other Georgia Republicans are calling his actions and words "appalling."
During a segment taped for the show, Cohen, disguised again as Israeli military expert Erran Morad, offered to teach Spencer the fighting technique Krav Maga to defend himself against terrorists. Spencer is a controversial figure who attempted to, like niqabs and burkas, in 2016. He dropped the bill after backlash from opponents who called it anti-Muslim.
On the show, Cohen told Spencer he could spot terrorists who wear burkas by pretending to be a "Chinese tourist" and using a selfie stick to take a photo underneath the burka. He told Spencer to pretend to be Chinese, and Spencer babbled, "Konnichiwa ... red dragon ... Beijing ... Ho Chi Minh City ... sushi," as he practiced taking a photo with the selfie stick. Konnichiwa and sushi are Japanese words and Ho Chi Minh City is in Vietnam.
Then Cohen asked Spencer how he would attract attention if terrorists were about to kidnap him, and pointed out that there was one word that is "forbidden" in the U.S.: the N-word. He then asked Spencer to act as if he had three seconds to attract attention before getting kidnapped by a terrorist. Spencer screamed the N-word at the top of his lungs, prompting Cohen to say, "Are you crazy? The N-word is 'noony.' Not this word. This word is disgusting."
Cohen also told Spencer that he could scare away ISIS by trying to touch members with his buttocks, asking him, "If your buttock touch them it mean they become a — "
"Homosexual," Spencer finished.
Cohen pretended to be an ISIS member and had Spencer drop his trousers, and then his underwear, to chase him around with his buttocks.
"I'll touch you. I'll make you a homosexual. Drop that gun! U.S.A! U.S.A!," screamed Spencer as he ran backward.
"Who is America?", a seven-episode series on Showtime, is Cohen's first TV series in more than a decade. (Disclosure: Showtime is owned by CBS Corp.)
Spencer is currently in his fourth term in the state legislature, but lost his primary election to Steven Sainz. Before his episode aired on Sunday, Spencer threatened to sue Cohen in a statement and said that he was still reeling from threats he received as a result of his anti-mask bill, and said Cohen's team "took advantage of my fears that I would be attacked by someone inspired by the vile rhetoric used against me." He added that the show "exploited my state of mind for profit and notoriety."
Georgia Republicans were quick to condemn his conduct on "Who is America?" Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal called Spencer's actions and language "appalling and offensive" and said he was "disgusted."
Georgia House Speaker David Ralston said in a statement to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, "The actions and language used on this video are reprehensible. Representative Spencer has disgraced himself and should resign immediately. Georgia is better than this."
Secretary of State and gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp removed Spencer from his endorsement list and said in a statement: "Rep. Spencer's words and behavior are hurtful, insensitive, and completely unacceptable. At the very least, he should issue a public apology for this shameful incident."
Georgia's chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) called for Spencer's resignation, with its executive director Edward Ahmed Mitchell saying, "Enough is enough. Jason Spencer must resign."
The anti-mask bill was not the only previous controversy in Spencer's career. He used threatening language in a Facebook exchange last year with black attorney and former Democratic state Rep. LaDawn Blackett Jones, who was pushing to get rid of the state's Confederate monuments, "I cant guarantee you won't be met with torches but something a lot more definitive," Spencer wrote, adding that people who want the statues gone "will go missing in the Okefenokee" swamp.
Last week,into recording a video message in support of a campaign to arm children. Walsh said Cohen tricked him by claiming that Walsh was receiving an award from an Israeli TV network. Walsh said he did not appreciate that Cohen was using people's support for Israel to take advantage of them, but he also said, "I gotta own what I said."
Sarah Palin also accused Cohen ofin a segment for the show.
You can see Cohen's explicit segment with Spencer here.