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Sacha Baron Cohen ‘feared for life’ after homoerotic ‘Bruno’ Arkansas fight scene triggered near riot

"Paroled prisoners with swastika tattoos [...] hurled metal chairs" actor recalls of Bruno

By Jamie Tabberer

Sacha Baron Cohen says he “genuinely feared for my life” while filming Bruno in Arkansas in the 00s.

Bruno, about a gay fashion journalist from Austria visiting the US, was released in 2009.

In one famous scene filmed in the aforementioned US state, Bruno poses as an ultimate cage fighter at a real-life event, and invites a random member of the audience for a duel.

Unbeknownst to the spectators, the volunteer is Bruno’s lover – and the pair swiftly start getting intimate in the ring.

“I think the crowd would have beaten me senseless”

Reliving the moment in a TIME article about conspiracy theories, Baron Cohen said: “A few times in my career, I have genuinely feared for my life.

“In Arkansas, I posed as an ultimate fighter at a cage match and challenged anyone in the audience to take me on. When my fake ex-boyfriend volunteered, we engaged in some heavy petting, triggering a near riot.

Sacha Baron Cohen as Bruno (Picture: Netflix)

“The crowd – including some recently paroled prisoners with swastika tattoos – erupted in homophobic slurs and started hurling metal chairs at us. Had I not ducked into a trapdoor and out an escape tunnel, I think the crowd would have beaten me senseless.

The star, also known for films like Borat and The Dictator, added: “Moments like that are frightening. Today, though, I’m truly terrified—for the survival of democracy itself.”

In the below clip of the scene, onlookers can be seen breaking down in tears over the display of same-sex attraction.