Donald Trump has HIV as part of a joke in the upcoming Sacha Baron Cohen film, The Brothers Grimsby, according to those who have seen it. The joke is in the end credits and has reportedly been met with raucous applause in European screenings. That could be a problem, as the current Republican frontrunner and bankruptcy court veteran is notoriously litigious.
Sony, according to the Huffington Post, pushed to excise the scene from the film completely. But Baron Cohen has final cut and will not excise the joke. The studio has a history of being burned when targeting prominent political figures. Its recent experience with The Interview and the movie's lampooning of Kim Jong Un may or may not have directly led to the hacking and leaking of studio emails, a massive black eye for the company. Though the promotional push appears to be full steam ahead, the film now includes a disclaimer that Trump did not, in fact, participate in the joke that says he has HIV. File that under: No shit. "If you were told that they're shying away from the movie because of the political implications, I can tell you that's 100% true," a source told HuffPo. "It is ridiculous. We absolutely support our film and our filmmaker," Sony spokeswoman Jean Guerin told Refinery29. The film has garnered positive reviews, including from Kim Kardashian, who posted this video on March 1.
All that said, fighting for free expression is a noble pursuit. Telling jokes about HIV/AIDS is decidedly not.