While Rudy Giuliani has vehemently denied any wrongdoing for a now-infamous sequence in the new Borat sequel that shows him in a compromising position opposite a young female reporter, his “scene partner” has remained silent in the weeks since the film’s premiere.
That changed Wednesday as the New York Times published an interview with Maria Bakalova, the 24-year-old Bulgarian actress who plays Tutar Sagdiyev, the 15-year-old daughter of Sacha Baron Cohen’s eponymous Kazakh reporter.
In Borat Subsequent Moviefilm’s most buzzed-about set-up, Tutar poses as an interviewer with a fake news outlet called Patriots Report, shares whiskey with the former New York City mayor and current attorney to President Donald Trump and ultimately ends up in a hotel bedroom with him. There, Giuliani sits down on the bed, pats her on the waist and appears to put his hands down his pants before Baron Cohen bursts into the room.
“Movies like this are showing people’s true colours,” Bakalova said when asked by Times columnist Dave Itzkoff if she feels bad for how much Giuliani has been mocked for falling victim to the prank and ridiculed for alleged illicit intent.
“It’s going to show Rudy’s real character. You’re responsible for your own decisions. So, no, I don’t feel bad.”
Giuliani has insisted he was simply tucking his shirt into his pants while lying down on his back after his microphone was removed, while critics of the film have suggested creative editing tricks employed by the filmmakers — like dialogue that may have been layered over the scene in which Giuliani asks Tutar for her address and phone number.
“I saw everything that you saw. If you saw the movie, that’s our message. We want everybody to see the movie and judge for themselves,” Bakalova said.
“We can see what he’s doing in the mirror.”
Another question that emerged with the film’s release is if Guiliani, who is clearly flirtatious with the reporter, knew her character was only supposed to be 15.
“I’m not the person who is actually booking these people, so when we get to the scene, I’m just doing the scene, without introducing myself,” the actress explained. “I’m not sure what he knows or does not know.”
Bakalova admitted she was nervous gearing up for the film’s climactic stunt. “My heart was racing. But Sacha was like, ‘You should be nervous in this situation. So use your nerves. Convert them and accept them and they’re going to help you through everything.’”
Though her “true colours” comment comes across as damning, Bakalova did not specifically allege sexual misconduct against Giuliani.
Asked, as the only person in the room, if she had any indication as to what Giuliani was doing, Bakalova offered a long pause. “What do you think he was doing?” she asked Itzkoff.
Asked outright if she had an opinion on what his intentions were, Bakalova responded by claiming she was saved by the bell — or rather, the Borat.
“Sacha jumped into the room quickly, because he’s been worried about me. So, if he were late, I don’t know how things were going to go. But he came just in time.”
Baron Cohen shared similar sentiments about Giuliani when asked by Stephen Colbert about the scene in October.
“Well, he said that he did nothing inappropriate and, you know, my feeling is, if he sees that as appropriate, then heaven knows what he’s intended to do with other women in hotel rooms with a glass of whiskey in his hand,” Baron Cohen said.
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is now streaming on Amazon Prime.
Watch the trailer: