A fundraising campaign for the babysitter tasked with looking after ‘Borat’s daughter’ in Sacha Baron Cohen’s comedy sequel has raised more than $54,000 after the woman revealed she thought the film was a documentary.
Jeanise Jones, a 62-year-old Oklahoma City grandmother, was recruited by the team behind ‘Borat 2’ to film several scenes with 15-year-old Tutar, played by 24-year-old actress Maria Bakalova.
Jones believed she had been hired to look after the girl as part of a documentary about child brides and women’s rights, and only learned that the movie was satirical when a friend told her about the trailer in October.
Fans have now flocked to thank her for being the movie’s ‘moral compass’, however, by paying into a GoFundMe campaign started by her pastor.
It was also revealed that she was paid only $3,600 for the role and recently lost her job of 32 years because of the coronavirus pandemic.
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Jeanise Jones, a 62-year-old Oklahoma City grandmother, was recruited by the team behind ‘Borat 2’ to film several scenes with Borat’s 15-year-old Tutar, played by 24-year-old actress Maria Bakalova. Jones believed that she was taking part in a documentary about child brides
Jeanise Jones didn’t even realize that she played a role in ‘Borat 2’ until a week ago when a cousin pointed her out in the trailer posted online for actor Sasha Baron Cohen’s new film
The grandmother has said she had worried for a year about ‘Tutar’, who she believed was being married off to a wealthy older man.
‘I’m glad to know she’s not really in that situation. I hate to hear of anyone in that situation,’ she told Variety.
‘We were concerned. We were up there praying for her and asking God to help her and we were doing what we thought was the Christian thing to do,’ she added to the New York Post.
Jones lost her job due to the pandemic this years but fans are now fundraising to thank her for her performance in the movie
Jones was heralded as the voice of reason and sanity throughout ‘Borat Subsequent Moviefilm’, as she told ‘Tutar’ that her dad was wrong in telling her that men have bigger brains and that she needed a boob job to get married.
‘In that kind of situation, you can’t help but have patience because you’re trying to help somebody — at least, that’s what I thought,’ Jones said.
‘I was trying to give the best advice I know. And as a young lady, you don’t need all the features that she said her dad wanted her to do. There was nothing wrong with her. I was trying to let her know that she was pretty.’
The unwitting babysitter was completely unaware that the teenager she was hired to look after was really a 24-year-old actress, yet is seen acting with patience even when she meets with the girl for the first time and she’s in a ball and chain.
‘You can’t print what first went through my mind. I was like, “What … in the world…. is this?” It threw me off,’ she said of the first meeting.
‘It really took me a minute to comprehend what was going on. I saw this little girl all chained up with this ball and a collar around her neck.’
In one of the movie scenes, Jones is also heard telling the young girl in her charge that she wants her to ‘be happy’ and to ‘use your brain, because your daddy is a liar’.
‘They told me it was a documentary for this young lady to understand she has rights and she can do whatever a man can do,’ Jones told the Post.
‘I felt pain for her and tried [to see] if there’s any way we can get through to her that she doesn’t need to do all that’.
Jones has not yet watched the movie but told Variety she plans to as she revealed more about how she was drafted in.
‘We were told we were filming a documentary on that little girl [Bakalova], who turned out to be a grown actress,’ she said.
Jones, pictured, was recruited to be the babysitter through her Oklahoma church
‘They came to our church and said they were looking for some elderly Black women — grandma types — for this documentary. Everyone did individual interviews and you answered questions to the best of your ability. I’m not very good with interviews, but they made me comfortable. They asked basic questions about my kids and growing up and how I feel about children.
‘I wasn’t expecting to be picked. When I was, I was like, “wow” but I didn’t think anything else about it,’ Jones added.
She said that her friends were skeptical about the movie but that she brushed it off and wan’t concerned for her safety, even when she was asked to go to Washington state at a later date during the pandemic to film further.
‘But my longtime friend didn’t want me to go because there’s too much going on in the world,’ Jones said.
‘She said, “Jeanise, they gonna snatch you.” And I said, “Girl, nobody want me. I’m not young, I’m fat and I’m Black.” When I told her I had to go to Washington [to film], she wasn’t happy. But I never felt like I was in danger.’
Jones also said that she didn’t ever feel like she should call child services as she believed it was all part of the girl’s culture.
‘I’m thinking she’s really from a third-world [country] and that’s how they treat women and young girls. I [suggested they] take her to a school and let her observe girls in a classroom who can read and write just like boys,’ she said.
‘I was thinking it was real, so my thought was they were going to take her to see different things and make it so she could be able to stay in the United States. Evidently, that’s not what happened.’
Borat and Tutar attend a debutante ball in the city of Macon, in the southern state of Georgia
Jones had no idea she was really looking after 24-year-old actress Maria Bakalova
Jones also told Variety that she thought the compensation she received for the movie was fair ‘because they knew it was going to be a movie, and I didn’t’.
‘I just thought I was doing a documentary about how we do things in America. But I blame myself for not reading when I signed those papers.’
Yet others don’t agree, leading to her pastor Derrick Scobey establishing the GoFundMe page for the woman he describes as the ‘moral compass’ of the movie.
He also said that Jones had been praying for the teenager since they met last year.
‘We have been praying for the young lady in the movie because we all genuinely thought she was in trouble. The joke is on us/Jeanise and that’s no problem,’ Scobey wrote.
‘This was not scripted for Jeanise. It all came from the heart.
‘She is one of the most authentic people I’ve ever met. One good thing that has come from this is that Jeanise doesn’t have to worry about “Tutar” anymore. She has WORRIED about this young lady for a year.’
The page has raised more than $54,700 as of Wednesday afternoon.