Political Insider

An AJC blog about Atlanta politics, Georgia politics, Georgia and metro Atlanta election campaigns. Because all politics is local.

Georgia GOP calls for ouster of activist duped by Sacha Baron Cohen 

The Georgia GOP called for the resignation Wednesday of a Cherokee County activist who serves on the party’s state committee after he was filmed in a segment of Sacha Baron Cohen’s series making disparaging remarks about Hispanics.

Jack Staver was one of three men featured on Sunday’s episode of “Who is America?” – the same program that led to the resignation last week of state Rep. Jason Spencer after he bared his buttocks and shouted racial slurs.

State Rep. Jason Spencer exposed himself and yelled racial slurs in new Showtime series.

Cohen used the same strategy to dupe Staver, presenting himself as an Israeli anti-terrorism expert who wanted to offer him free security training to “catch illegal Mexicans.” 

In the scene, Staver hides in a giant piñata while another participant is dressed as a woman. Georgia GOP Chairman John Watson said his “behavior, under the guise of deceit or not, is appalling and unacceptable.”

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“There is no room in the Georgia Republican Party for such disgusting actions, or for those who engage in them. I have spoken with Mr. Staver and asked that he immediately resign his position on the state committee.”

It’s not immediately clear if Staver will step down. He told the Cherokee Tribune Ledger News that he was “hoodwinked” by Cohen into taking part in the program but didn’t apologize.

“I’m not embarrassed about anything. People who have known me for years know who I am,” he told the newpspaper. “I’m not a nut.” 

Staver has a long history in Georgia Republican politics. He ran unsuccessfully for the Cherokee County Commission and is also involved in several other conservative organizations, including as a leader of the Georgia Republican Assembly. 

It’s the latest example of Georgia GOP leaders distancing themselves from activists with embarrassing antics in a midterm election year. 

Spencer was forced to resign within days of his humiliating appearance on Cohen’s program, threatened with ethics sanctions and a possible special session to force his ouster. 

 

About the Author

Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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