Sacha Baron Cohen has donated $100,000 to a community fund set up for an Oklahoma grandmother who he cons in his new Borat movie.
Jeanise Jones, 62, was recruited to film several scenes alongside 24-year-old actress Maria Bakalova, who plays the 15-year-old character, Tutar.
Jones believed Tutar was a real teenager and that she had been hired to look after the girl as part of a documentary about child brides and women’s rights. She only learned that the movie was satirical when a friend told her about the trailer in October.
Since Borat 2’s release, Jones has become a fan favorite, without thousands of viewers donating to GoFundMe for the grandmother, which was started by her pastor.
As of Friday afternoon, more than $147,000 has been raised for Jones, who has lost her job amid the coronavirus pandemic and was only paid $3,200 for her role in the film.
Entertainment Tonight has now reported that Cohen himself had pledged to donate $100,000 to Jones’ Oklahoma City community on her behalf.
Sacha Baron Cohen has donated $100,000 to a community fund set up for conned Oklahoma grandmother Jeanise Jones. She appears in the new Borat movie as a babysitter for the character, Tutar. Jones believed the movie was a documentary, and had no idea she was being set up in a comedy satire
According to a source, ‘the money is to be distributed by the Ebenezer Baptist Church at Jones’ request’.
The cash will go towards providing shelter and food for community members in need.
Jones’ pastor – the same man who set up the GoFundMe fundraiser for the grandmother – praised Cohen for his donation during an interview with People magazine.
‘I was blown away but not surprised because I was told about what type of heart this man has,’ Pastor Derrick Scobey stated.
‘Maybe it’s a little risqué, some of the things in the movie, but he has a good heart.’
Earlier this week it was revealed Jones was only paid $3,600 for the role in the film.
Jeanise Jones was recruited by producers to ‘ to film several scenes with Maria Bakalova. Baklova, 24, tricked Jones into believing that she was a 15-year-old named Tutar and that they were filming a documentary about child brides
Jones has previously stated that she completely believed that Baklova’s character, Tutar, was real.
She 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 was heralded as the voice of reason and sanity throughout the movie, 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.
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.
‘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.
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.’