Studio: Bruno Lawsuit Is "Baseless"

Entertainment Jun. 5, 2009 AT 4:25PM
Bruno Sacha Baron Cohen as "Bruno" arrives at the 2009 MTV Movie Awards Arrivals at the Gibson Amphitheatre on May 31, 2009 in Universal City, CA. Credit: Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

Universal Pictures - the studio behind the Sacha Baron Cohen comedy Bruno (out July 10) - is denying a woman's claims that the actor, 37, caused her "life-altering injuries" during a fight at a charity bingo tournament in 2007.

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In her lawsuit, Richelle Olson, executive director of California's Desert Valley Charities, says she suffered brain injuries after she fell following a scuffle she had with Cohen, who allegedly ambushed her on stage while playing his flamboyantly gay Austrian character. The humiliated Olson -- who is seeking $25,000 in damages -- claims she was diagnosed with "two brain bleeds" -- and has since been confined to a wheelchair and walker. In a statement Friday, Universal Pictures tells Usmagazine.com: "The allegations made by Richelle and Lance Olson in their complaint are completely baseless. Filmed footage of the full encounter, which took place more than two years ago, clearly shows that Ms. Olson was never touched or in any way assaulted by Sacha Baron Cohen or any member of the production and suffered no injury. If the Olsons elect to proceed with their frivolous action, we expect each of the defendants to be fully vindicated."

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This isn't Cohen's first legal woe: Several people in his 2006 comedy Borat sued him, claiming he humiliated them. None, however, alleged that he caused serious physical injury.

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Earlier this week, Bruno made headlines by landing face-down in Eminem's lap, causing the rapper to curse and storm out of MTV Movie Awards June 1.

See red carpet photos from the 2009 MTV Movie Awards

Turns out, the incident was staged, the rapper and a show writer later said.

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