Borat 2 Star Jeanise Jones Spent Sacha Baron Cohen's $100,000 Donation Helping Community
Jeanise was recruited after being led to believe she was taking part in a real documentary after a production team approached Pastor Derrick Scobey at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Oklahoma City.
Jeanise 'plays' a babysitter, hired to look after Borat's daughter Tutar (Maria Bakalova). She goes on to believe that Tutar is going to be married off and tells her that she shouldn't have plastic surgery to get married, encourages her to 'be happy'. Basically, she's an absolute angel.
After the film's release, Ms Jones said she felt 'betrayed' and revealed she was paid around $3,600 (£2,700) which led to Sacha Baron Cohen donating $100,000 to her.
At Jones' request, the money was distributed by the Ebenezer Baptist Church and has been earmarked for shelter, food and any other needs of the local community - which is currently struggling with ice storms and power outages.
Speaking to IndieWire, Baron Cohen said: "I think this has been the hardest year in living memory for most people.
"Jeanise is this incredible figure in the movie. She helps Tutar find her own beauty and helps her stand up for herself and value her independence as a woman.
"I heard they were doing a crowdfunding for her afterwards. I called her up and I wanted to help in some way. I said, 'What's important to you? Is there some way I can help?'
"At the time there was a natural disaster in Oklahoma and they were struggling to house and feed a lot of members of her community. It was the least I could do really.
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"By the way, her pastor was saying this woman Jeanise had spent all her time helping others in the community. He virtually took us around the church and they were housing and feeding a lot of people who were struggling. What else can you do?"
The original crowdfunding campaign was set up by Pastor Derrick Scobey at the Ebenezer Baptist Church. He explained that Jones is a mother of three and a grandmother of six who is a 'faithful church member'.
The GoFundMe page has - at the time of writing - reached $183,000 (£135,000).
Pastor Scobey outlined: "She recently emerged as the 'STAR' in the new Borat movie. She was recruited from our church the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Oklahoma City after Producers spoke to me about needing a 'Black Grandmother' for a small role in a 'documentary'.
"Jeanise emerged as that person and she was completely unaware that this was a comedy, and all of this was made up. 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. Many of you have reached from around the world to say thank you, so I thought it would be great to give people a vehicle to say thank you in a tangible way. She wasn't paid much money at all for her role in this movie.
"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 movie was scheduled to come out in November, but because of Covid and a rush to release the movie before the election, this movie was released on Amazon instead of theaters.
"Please consider saying thank you to Jeanise with a tangible gift. She's unemployed right now due to Covid. Previously, she worked on a job for 32 years! She's faithful! Please consider giving a contribution to simply to say thank you to Jeanise for being 'A moral compass and a light shining in darkness' in this movie.
"I would be remiss if I didn't thank Sacha Cohen Baron and Monica Levinson (Producer) for casting Jeanise in this movie."
Featured Image Credit: Amazon Studios
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