While Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is currently earning praise from critics, its biggest star is one of its catfished subjects, 62-year-old mother and grandmother Jeanise Jones. As of writing this article, over $71,000 has been raised for Jones through a GoFundMe campaign started by her pastor, Derrick Scobey. The funds will help Jones, who is currently unemployed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Jones was featured in the film under the guise of helping Borat’s daughter Tutar (Maria Bakalova) earn her freedom from a violently sexist mindset.
In the film, Jones is led to believe Tutar is going to be used as Mike Pence’s mistress and bargaining chip between America and Kazakhstan. Jones is hired as a “babysitter” to watch Tutar while Borat (Sacha Baron Cohen) makes more money to pay for Tutar’s plastic surgery.
“…I’m thinking she’s really from a third-world [country] and that’s how they treat women and young girls,” she told Variety. “I [suggested they] take her to a school and let her observe girls in a classroom who can read and write just like boys. I was thinking it was real, so my thought was they were going to take her to see different things and make it so she could be able to stay in the United States. Evidently, that’s not what happened.”
“My patience comes from God,” she continued when asked about how she was able to be patient with Bakalova asking her if she was a man because she could read. “I used to not have any patience at all. But in that kind of situation, you can’t help but have patience because you’re trying to help somebody–at least, that’s what I thought. I was trying to give the best advice I know. And as a young lady, you don’t need all the features that she said her dad wanted her to do. There was nothing wrong with her. I was trying to let her know that she was pretty.”
“This was not scripted for Jeanise,” wrote Scobey on the GoFundMe page. “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 was WORRIED about this young lady for a year.”
Even though the New York Post wrote that Jones said she felt betrayed by the film, she corrected her response to Variety.
“I saw that comment, and I had to let them know that I never felt betrayed,” she said. “What I said was that I didn’t know it was a movie or an R-rated movie. ‘Betrayed’ never came out of my mouth. I don’t know where they got that from. I’m not ever going to say I was betrayed because it was partially my fault I didn’t read the contracts. I’ll take my responsibility on that.”
Jones was only paid $3,600 for her role. She was asked by Variety if she felt it was fair considering the film was sold to Amazon, which has made owner Jeff Bezos worth $200 billion, and that Baron Cohen will rake in millions himself from the film’s sales.
“I can’t say it was fair because they knew it was going it was going to be a movie, and I didn’t,” she said. “I just thought I was doing a documentary about how we do things in America. But I blame myself for not reading when I signed those papers.”
Photo credit: Amazon