U.K. Publisher Redacts Passage of Rebel Wilson’s Memoir


The British publisher of the actress Rebel Wilson’s memoir has redacted a portion of the book that details allegations of inappropriate behavior by Sacha Baron Cohen.

In the memoir, “Rebel Rising,” Wilson, known for her comic roles in “Bridesmaids” and “Pitch Perfect,” candidly details her struggles with weight loss, sexuality and money. But what drew particular attention was a chapter detailing Wilson’s encounters with Baron Cohen on the set of the 2016 movie “The Brothers Grimsby,” in which she describes being asked by Cohen to appear nude on film and to perform sexual acts for a scene. A representative for Baron Cohen has denied Wilson’s account.

The book was released by Simon & Schuster in the United States earlier this month, and is set to be released in the United Kingdom on Thursday and in Australia in August.

But Harper Collins, her publisher in the United Kingdom, redacted passages from a page of the memoir, images released by Getty showed. A spokesperson for Harper Collins confirmed the redaction in a statement to The Guardian.

“We are publishing every page, but for legal reasons, in the UK edition, we are redacting most of one page with some other small redactions and an explanatory note,” the statement said. “Those sections are a very small part of a much bigger story.”

In the passage, Wilson recounts that while filming “The Brothers Grimsby,” Baron Cohen made her feel uncomfortable by asking her to appear nude in the film (they hired a body double instead). She also alleges that he urged her to insert her finger in his anus while they were filming a sex scene, which she refused to do, while others filmed the exchange.

Baron Cohen says Wilson’s account is false.

“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,’” a representative of Baron Cohen said in a statement this month.

Representatives for Wilson and Harper Collins did not return a request for comment.

In March, The Daily Mail published footage of the scene that wasn’t in the movie and shows Wilson acting out the sex scene together with Baron Cohen in character.

In an interview with The New York Times this month, Wilson responded, saying, “I’m sure they’re never going to release the iPhone footage of him asking me to do it, to insert my finger up his ass, and me saying, ‘No, why are you doing this? Why are you asking me to do this? Where’s the director?’ Of course they are not going to release that footage.”

In the same interview, Wilson said of Cohen’s denial of her account: “This is not about canceling someone. It’s part of my story — my memoir. And I’m allowed to write about what happened to me, and how that made me feel.”

On Wednesday, a spokesperson for Baron Cohen said that Harper Collins did not fact check the chapter but praised the publisher’s decision to redact what the spokesperson called defamatory claims.

“Printing falsehoods is against the law in the U.K. and Australia,” the statement said, adding that the move “confirms what we said from the beginning — that this is demonstrably false, in a shameful and failed effort to sell books.”

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