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Rebel Wilson’s memoir suffers delays amid Sacha Baron Cohen harassment allegations

Malia Mendez – Los Angeles Times (TNS)

Rebel Wilson’s highly anticipated memoir, “Rebel Rising,” hit U.S. shelves on Tuesday, but its publication has been delayed in Australia — the actor’s birthplace — and the U.K.

Publisher HarperCollins explained the delays as an effort to align publication with the actor’s press tour schedule. But with buyers receiving cryptic messages about “Rebel Rising” being “currently unavailable” and booksellers canceling and refunding orders without explanation, fans are speculating that the book has been pulled due to a controversial section in which Wilson recounts her on-set experience with “The Brothers Grimsby” co-star Sacha Baron Cohen.

Wilson’s account appeared in an excerpt published in March by People. She wrote that during filming for the 2016 spy action comedy, Baron Cohen made her uncomfortable by repeatedly asking her to appear nude in the film — despite her “no nudity” rule.

She also alleges that he urged her to stick a finger up his rear end as they were filming an “extra scene.” Wilson told that she doesn’t believe the scene could have “possibly been for the film,” because movie director Louis Leterrier was not present.

The actor states that she was shocked and wanted to escape the situation.

“I was now scared,” the actor wrote. “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 also wrote that she only agreed to a sex scene with Baron Cohen after several rewrites and recalls telling the producers that she wouldn’t be promoting the film ahead of its release.

Baron Cohen has denied Wilson’s allegations, saying they are contradicted by evidence.

“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 spokesperson for Baron Cohen wrote in a statement previously shared with The Times. also reported Wednesday that Baron Cohen’s team provided nine anonymous statements from crew members that backed the claim that the “extra scene” in question was in the script. Others close to the production asserted that Leterrier cleared all nudity and sex scenes with Wilson before they were shot.

Baron Cohen’s team shared footage from the sex scene that seems to show that the action was part of the script and that Wilson was on board with it, the outlet reported.

In one clip, Wilson can be heard discussing the scene while on camera but out of character, telling Baron Cohen, “I’ll do a slap [of your butt] and I’ll do a – going down the crack’, to which he replies: ‘It’s almost as if you’re going to ram your fingers inside,’ prompting her to answer, “Yeah.”

Still, in a statement to, Wilson maintained her position.

“It is an a— move to release footage of one part of that disgusting episode while leaving out everything that preceded it including my horrified refusal to stick my finger up SBC’s butt,” she said. “What this edited video shows is what I had to do in order to get out of the room, as written in Rebel Rising. Releasing unauthorized and misleading behind the scenes video without my approval is SBC’s latest way of bullying and gaslighting me.”

The “Pitch Perfect” alum’s tell-all book narrates her rise to stardom amid personal struggles, including fatphobia and infertility. “Rebel Rising follows Rebel Wilson’s incredible journey of ‘making it,’ constantly questioning, ‘Am I good enough? Will I ever find love? Will I ever change and become healthy?’” according to the description of the memoir.

A spokesperson for HarperCollins told the Sydney Morning Herald that it would not comment on the possibility that any threat of legal action by Baron Cohen influenced the decision to postpone the memoir’s Australia release. The book was originally slated for release Wednesday in Australia but has been delayed indefinitely, with the publisher saying a new date would be announced “in due course.”

The book’s U.K. release date has been pushed back to April 25.

Meanwhile, Wilson continues to promote her memoir in the United States.

“I will probably go private for like eight to 10 years after this ‘cause I share so much in the book,” the actor said during a Tuesday appearance on “The Kelly Clarkson Show.”

©2024 Los Angeles Times. Visit at Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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