The owner of an etiquette business who was handed a plastic bag supposedly containing feces in the hit movie “Borat” says she was told the filming would be used for a documentary in Belarus.
Cindy Streit said she filed a complaint Thursday with California Attorney General Bill Lockyer, requesting an investigation into possible violations of the California Unfair Trade Practices Act.
Streit said that a representative from a Los Angeles-based company called Springland Films contacted her Birmingham, Ala.-based company, Etiquette Training Services, about arranging an etiquette session for an “international guest from Belarus Television.”
Attempts to find a contact for Springland were not successful. The company had no phone listing and Streit’s lawyers declined to provide copies of the contracts allegedly signed.
The attorney general’s office had not received a copy of the complaint, spokesman Nathan Barankin said late Thursday.
Streit said she arranged in Alabama both a sit-down session with Borat, played by comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, and a dinner party with some of her friends. Clips of both appear in the movie “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit of Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.”
Though awkward at times, the dinner went well until Borat asked to use the bathroom, Streit said.
“I had taught him to excuse himself. He did that correctly and went upstairs,” Streit told The Associated Press. “The next thing that happened is that he came down the stairs holding this plastic bag with whatever was in it.”
“My horror was that he had brought a bag of feces to my dinner table,” she said.
Springland put in writing that the second of two scheduled sessions “will be filmed as part of a documentary for Belarus Television and for those purposes only,” said Gloria Allred, Streit’s lawyer.
Streit, 59, said she requested an investigation by the attorney general instead of filing a lawsuit in hopes of setting a precedent that will make movie studios think twice before using other ordinary citizens for “reality movies.” However, she said she wouldn’t rule out a lawsuit.
Streit’s demand follows complaints by others shown in the film, including a lawsuit filed by two fraternity members from a South Carolina university who appear in the film drunk.