Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (R) declared that the “actions and language” used by state Rep. Jason Spencer (R), who yelled the N-word and dropped his underwear on the latest episode of Sacha Baron Cohen’s “Who Is America?” aired Sunday, were “appalling and offensive.”
“There is no excuse for this type of behavior, ever, and I am saddened and disgusted by it,” Deal tweeted.
Secretary of State Brian Kemp scratched Spencer’s endorsement off his gubernatorial campaign website.
“Rep. Spencer’s words and behavior are hurtful, insensitive, and completely unacceptable,” Kemp said in a statement. “At the very least, he should issue a public apology for this shameful incident.”
Georgia House Speaker David Ralston (R) called for Spencer, who was defeated in his primary race, to resign instead of serving out the remainder of his term. “Representative Spencer has disgraced himself and should resign immediately,” Ralston said. “Georgia is better than this.”
In the bit, Cohen is in character as an Israeli counterterrorist named Col. Erran Morad. In what was framed as a training video set in a gym, Cohen first tells Spencer to use a selfie stick while pretending to be a Chinese tourist to take photos up the skirts of women clad in burqas.
Cohen then tells Spencer to loudly shout an undefined word beginning with “N” to draw attention during an ISIS kidnapping attempt. The state lawmaker shouts the racial slur beginning with “N” several times.
“Are you crazy?” Cohen responded. “The ‘N-word’ is ‘noonie’! Not this word. This word is disgusting.”
Cohen tells Spencer that perceived homosexuality would scare away terrorists, so touching a terrorist with his butt would drive them away. The lawmaker dropped his briefs to bare his butt and backed up toward the Cohen character, pretending to be a terrorist, while Spencer yelled, “I’ll touch you. I’ll make you a homosexual. Drop that gun! U.S.A! U.S.A!” At the end of the show, Spencer mimics chopping off the penises of “sand n****rs” — with a sausage as a stand-in — and gnaws on the sausage.
Spencer said in a statement that Cohen “took advantage of my fears that I would be attacked by someone inspired by the vile rhetoric used against me,” particularly after he unsuccessfully tried to ban Islamic face veils under a state anti-masking law that targets the KKK. Spencer threatened to sue Cohen, saying the show “exploited my state of mind for profit and notoriety.”
“My fears were so heightened at that time, I was not thinking clearly nor could I appreciate what I was agreeing to when I participated in his ‘class.’ I was told I would be filmed as a ‘demonstration video’ to teach others the same skills in Israel. Sacha and his crew further lied to me, stating that I would be able to review and have final approval over any footage used,” he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Spencer is in his fourth term. Last year, he faced calls to resign after warning former state Rep. LaDawn Jones, who is African-American and supported removal of Confederate monuments, that proponents of removing the monuments would not be “met with torches but something a lot more definitive” and those who didn’t see that “will go missing in the Okefenokee.”
Spencer said afterward that he regret his choice of words. “I was trying to warn her that there really are people who would harm others over the issue,” he said. “In light of the recent tragic murder of a woman in Charlottesville, I believe that a certain degree of caution is necessary.”