Brian Kemp disavows supporter from legislature after ‘completely unacceptable’ TV appearance

By Curt Yeomans, Gwinnett Daily Post

Secretary of State Brian Kemp distanced himself from a supporter in the Georgia General Assembly hours after the state legislator dropped his pants, used a racial slur and impersonated a Chinese man on TV Sunday night.

State Rep. Jason Spencer, R-Woodbine, was among the state legislators who had endorsed Kemp’s bid for governor. Spencer appeared on Sacha Baron Cohen’s Showtime series “Who is America?” in a bit where Cohen was pretending to be an Israeli terrorism expert. In character, Cohen got Spencer to perform severally racially and culturally insensitive acts.

The Kemp campaign said it has removed Spencer’s name from the endorsements list on its website, and that he will neither be included in any campaign events or be mentioned on any other campaign materials.

“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.”

Prior to the show airing, Spencer had reportedly said he was duped by Cohen and show producers into appearing in the show and acting the way he did on it, and threatened legal action if the footage was aired. Spencer lost his re-election bid in May.

After the episode aired, Spencer’s appearance on the show was one of the top trending topics on Twitter as users of the social media site posted reactions and video snippets of his actions. Cohen also posted a video of part of the legislator’s appearance on YouTube under his real name and under the name of the character he played on the show, Capt. Erran Morad.

Among the actions Spencer did on the show was a bit where he pretended to be a Chinese tourist using a selfie stick taking to take an “up-skirt” photo of a person in a burka to see if they were a man or a woman. Cohen, in character, told Spencer that taking the photo was a new technique being used to see if terrorists were hiding under burkas.

As he pretended to a Chinese man, Spencer sprinkled a mashup of words and place names from various Asian cultures — including “sushi”, “Red Dragon”, “Hong Kong” and “Ho Chi Minh City” — among unintelligible sounds.

In another bit, Spencer repeated shouted an racial slur for African-Americans when told he had three seconds to attract attention to Cohen as he pretended to be a terrorist kidnapping the lawmaker in a training exercise.

At one point while Cohen was giving instructions to Spencer, he mentioned there is an “N-word” that shouldn’t be used in America, but stopped the legislator after he began shouting the slur and said the word he referred was “noony.”