Comedian’s Chicanery Cons Local Hotelier; Regret Emerges As Biggest Foe

facadehotelphillipsdowntownkcToday marks the nationwide opening of Bruno, Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest effort to unmask the rampant redneck-ery which infects America. And it turns out that our fair city has notched a fairly dubious honor in the film: the Hotel Phillips, haven of downtown scenesters, stars in what sounds like a lovely little S&M scene:

In the film, a hotel maintenance man finds Bruno (Baron Cohen) and his assistant/lover Lutz (Gustaf Hammarsten) handcuffed together in a human knot in Room 2010 (the hotel is never identified, but it’s there on the maintenance guy’s nametag).

The two men are wearing only black leather S&M harnesses. Several gerbils are running around an open dresser drawer. Bruno says they’ve lost the handcuff keys.

Enchanting. (And probably quite amusing.) But the theme of this story is that old enemy of human nature: regret. Here’s director of sales and marketing Blaine Proctor:

“We were told something completely differently was happening,” Proctor said this week, “that they were making a documentary about a European man traveling around the U.S. and how he interacts with Americans and our culture.” …

“We signed a waiver under false pretenses,” he explained.

And the legal response: He said the hotel’s lawyer had examined the waivers signed by employees and concluded there was no recourse. The filmmakers could use the footage however they liked.

You’ll find no sympathy for those claming coercion by the film’s masterminds among this site’s writers. Don’t want to appear in a movie? Don’t sign a waiver.

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