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Rebel Wilson's allegations against Sacha Baron Cohen in her memoir are crossed out in UK copies. Here's a timeline of their feud.

Eammon Jacobs,Caralynn Matassa   

Rebel Wilson's allegations against Sacha Baron Cohen in her memoir are crossed out in UK copies. Here's a timeline of their feud.
  • Rebel Wilson's claim in her memoir that Sacha Baron Cohen harassed her on set is redacted in UK copies.
  • The actors worked together on the 2016 action comedy, "The Brothers Grimsby."

Rebel Wilson's claims that Sacha Baron Cohen harassed her on "The Brothers Grimsby" set have been blacked out in UK copies of her memoir "Rebel Rising."

The movie, which was released in 2016, stars Cohen as Nobby Butcher, a man from the north of England who discovers that his long-lost brother (Mark Strong) is a spy.

Wilson plays Nobby's girlfriend, Dawn Grobham. For years, Wilson has alleged that Cohen continuously asked her to go nude for the role and that he acted inappropriately with her on set. Most recently, she wrote about the alleged incident in her memoir and has claimed that the "Borat" star hired lawyers to threaten her over its publication.

Cohen has strenuously denied the accusations.

Although "Rebel Rising" was released in the US last month, it was delayed in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand amid the controversy between Wilson and Cohen.

When "Rebel Rising" was finally published in the UK on April 25, Wilson's allegations against Cohen were blacked out. Wilson's publishers, Harper Collins Australia, told Business Insider on Sunday that the entire chapter featuring the allegations will be blacked out when the book is released in Australia and New Zealand on May 8.

The changes are likely due to differences in defamation laws in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.

Defamation laws are stricter in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand than in other countries, which dissuades media companies from publishing potentially libelous statements without a lot of proof.

In fact, Australia is often referred to as the "defamation capital of the world" because of how often courts rule in favor of the plaintiffs.

Here's a complete timeline of the drama between Wilson and Cohen, which dates back nearly a decade.

In 2014, Rebel Wilson said Sacha Baron Cohen asked her to put a finger in his butt while filming a scene for "The Brothers Grimsby."

Wilson first accused Cohen of behaving inappropriately on "The Brothers Grimsby" set in 2014 when she appeared on the "Kyle and Jackie O" radio show in Australia, according to The Courier Mail.

The "Pitch Perfect" star said Cohen kept asking her to go naked for the film, but she didn't want to. She said: "Every day he's like, 'Just go naked. It will be funny. Remember in "Borat" when I did that naked scene? It was hilarious.'"

The star added: "On the last day, I thought I'd obviously won the argument, and he got a body double to do the naked scene."

During the same interview, Wilson also claimed that Cohen sprung the idea of a lewd scene on her during filming.

"Then in the last scene ... he was like, 'Rebel, can you just stick your finger up my butt?' And I went, 'What do you mean, Sacha? That's not in the script,'" she recalled.

She continued: "And he's like, 'Look, I'll just pull down my pants, you just stick your finger up my butt, it'll be a really funny bit.'"

Wilson declined and said she smacked her hand on the star in the scene instead.

In 2017, Wilson discussed being harassed by an unnamed male costar in now-deleted tweets.

Three years later, Wilson appeared to discuss the same "Grimsby" incident on then-Twitter now X in two tweets, which have since been deleted.

In the tweets, which Business Insider reported on at the time, she said that an unnamed male costar asked her to perform a lewd act on him in front of his friends, who she said were filming the incident.

Wilson also claimed that the actor's representatives threatened her not to bad mouth him. She didn't name Cohen in the tweets at the time.

In March 2024, Wilson teased that a chapter of her upcoming book would expose an actor she worked with.

Wilson announced her memoir, "Rebel Rising," in October 2023, but it wasn't until March 2024 that she claimed to fans that a former male costar was attempting to threaten her over what she'd written about him in the book.

Posting to her Instagram story on March 22, Wilson wrote: "I wrote about an asshole in my book. Now, said asshole is trying to threaten me. He's hired a crisis PR manager and lawyers. He is trying to stop press coming out about my book."

Wilson said the book would come out regardless, "and you will all know the truth."

Days later, Wilson finally named Cohen as the person she says hired lawyers to threaten her memoir.

On March 24, Wilson posted another Instagram story naming Cohen as the "asshole" she'd written about in "Rebel Rising."

"I will not be bullied or silenced by high priced lawyers or crisis PR managers. The 'asshole' I am talking about in ONE CHAPTER of my book is: Sacha Baron Cohen."

On March 26, People magazine published an excerpt from Wilson's book detailing her claims about Cohen's behavior.

On March 26, People published an excerpt from "Rebel Rising," in which Wilson alleges that Cohen frequently asked her to go nude in "The Brothers Grimsby."

"It felt like every time I'd speak to SBC, he'd mention that he wanted me to go naked in a future scene. I was like, 'Ha, I don't do nudity, Sacha.'"

Writing about a scene in the film shot in Cape Town, Wilson says: "SBC summons me via a production assistant saying that I'm needed to film an additional scene. 'Okay, well, we're gonna film this extra scene,' SBC says."

"Then he pulls his pants down … SBC says very matter-of-factly: 'Okay, now I want you to stick your finger up my ass.' And I'm like, 'What?? … No!!'"

"I was now scared. I wanted to get out of there, so I finally compromised: I slapped him on the ass and improvised a few lines as the character," she continues.

When the book was published, these allegations were featured in the chapter "Sacha Baron Cohen And Other Assholes."

Cohen's representatives have denied Wilson's allegations and provided anonymous source statements in his defense.

A spokesperson for Cohen denied the allegations in an emailed statement to BI on March 25, the day after Wilson publicly named him on her Instagram story.

They wrote: "While we appreciate the importance of speaking out, these demonstrably false claims are directly contradicted by extensive detailed evidence, including contemporaneous documents, film footage, and eyewitness accounts from those present before, during, and after the production of 'The Brothers Grimsby.'"

On March 28, Cohen's spokesperson also provided BI (via email) with nine statements from anonymous crew members, producers, and writers who said they worked with Cohen and Wilson on "The Brothers Grimsby."

Several of the unnamed sources, including a producer, a writer/producer, an assistant director, and a cameraman who all say they were present during the alleged incident, say that Wilson's recounting of the events is inaccurate and that the incident took place on a professional movie set, not in a "room" as she'd characterized it in her 2017 tweets.

"As per the script, which Rebel had read and approved in advance, her character was attempting to put a finger in Sacha's character's butt," the unnamed producer's statement read, in part. "At no point did Sacha actually ask her to put a finger in his butt, or any other of his body's orifices, for that matter."

That producer also said Wilson was "treated with the utmost respect and empowerment" as a creative collaborator and claimed that Wilson and Cohen had a "good relationship" until Wilson saw an early cut of the movie that cut out several of her improvised scenes, which the source deemed "frankly very problematic." According to the producer, the cuts made Wilson "extremely angry" and resulted in her hostility toward Cohen.

An anonymous executive producer also echoed that the scene Wilson described was in the "approved shooting script" and said they'd never received any notice about Wilson's concerns about the scene before or after shooting.

Several of the statements said that they never personally witnessed or heard about any bad behavior on Cohen's part and that the set was very professional.

The release of Wilson's memoir was delayed in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.

On April 3, Hello! magazine reported that the memoir would be released in the UK on April 25 but would be delayed indefinitely in Wilson's home country, Australia.

Harper Collins told Hello!: "Publication of 'Rebel Rising' in the UK and Australia has been moved to coincide with Rebel Wilson's press tours."

Wilson was set to tour the UK at the end of April and head to Australia for an event at the Sydney Opera House on May 9.

However, Wilson said in an Instagram Story post that Cohen was behind the delay.

"UK & AUS momentarily delayed by a**hole… but not for long," Wilson captioned a photo of her book leaning against a window.

Neither Cohen nor Wilson's representatives have confirmed this claim.

Wilson's allegations are redacted in UK copies of her memoir.

On April 22, numerous media outlets reported that the UK copies of "Rebel Rising" would have Wilson's allegations blacked out.

HarperCollins told the MailOnline: "The book contains some redactions in chapter 23 on pages 216, 217, 218 and 221, as well as an explanatory note at the beginning of the chapter."

On April 25, the pages were shared on X by Alex Ritman, Variety's London Bureau Chief.

Ahead of the blacked-out section, Wilson writes: "What followed was the worst experience of my professional life. An incident that left me feeling bullied, humiliated, and compromised. It can't be printed here due to peculiarities of the law in England and Wales."

Wilson and Harper Collins have not confirmed what these "peculiarities" are.

The "Pitch Perfect" star wrote on her Instagram Story on Thursday: "I want to thank all the people who have come forward and acknowledged my experiences with Sacha Baron Cohen. Thank you for sharing your own stories with me. I am so grateful to you and really appreciate it."

On April 25, following news of the redaction, Cohen's spokesperson told Business Insider that the changes to the memoir were a "clear victory" for the "Borat" star.

"Harper Collins did not fact check this chapter in the book prior to publication and took the sensible but terribly belated step of deleting Rebel Wilson's defamatory claims once presented with evidence that they were false," the spokesperson said.

The statement went on: "Printing falsehoods is against the law in the U.K. and Australia; this is not a 'peculiarity' as Ms. Wilson said but a legal principle that has existed for many hundreds of years. This is a clear victory for Sacha Baron Cohen and confirms what we said from the beginning — that this is demonstrably false, in a shameful and failed effort to sell books."

The entire chapter is blacked out in the Australian and New Zealand editions of "Rebel Rising."

Last week, Harper Collins Austalia told Business Insider in an emailed statement that the entire chapter featuring Wilson's allegations would be redacted in the Australian and New Zealand editions of "Rebel Rising."

"For legal reasons we have redacted one chapter in the Australian/New Zealand edition and included an explanatory note accordingly," a spokesperson for Harper Collins Australia said. "That chapter is a very small part of a much bigger story and we're excited for readers to know Rebel's story when the book is released, on Wednesday 8 May."

Representatives for Wilson, Harper Collins, and Cohen did not immediately respond to a comment request from Business Insider.

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