Sacha Baron Cohen has secretly been running a fake conspiracy theory website for months

news-details

sacha baron cohen who is america bernie sanders billy wayne ruddick jr
Sacha Baron Cohen in disguise as Billy Wayne Ruddick Jr., talking to Senator Bernie Sanders about economic policy.
Showtime


For Sacha Baron Cohen's new show, "Who is America?," the comedian adopted several personalities to gain access to prominent political figures — including senator Bernie Sanders, former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, former senate majority leader Trent Lott, and numerous other current and former members of Congress.

One of Cohen's personalities is Billy Wayne Ruddick Jr., PhD. He's a conspiracy theorist who runs an Infowars-like website called Truthbrary.org. Ruddick's character is a former postal service worker who stays in a scooter to conserve his "body's finite energy." It's the disguise he used to hawk about the evils of socialized medicine to Bernie Sanders in the show's premiere, as well as the one he apparently uses in a later episode to talk to Sarah Palin.

It turns out the show has been maintaining Truthbrary.org for months as a real-life conspiracy theory website. According to the site's metadata, it was registered on October 13, 2017, which indicates how much Showtime, which produces the show, invested into making the character. Showtime declined to INSIDER's request for comment on the site's development.

True to form, Truthbrary.org has a rickety design that almost looks like it was made in 1997 and hasn't been updated since, with bold underlined text in random places and low-resolution GIFs. The editorial content warns against military mind control, fluoride in the water, and Satanism in Hollywood. There are three different posts about 9/11 conspiracy theories, allegations that former president Barack Obama was born in Kenya, and theories about aliens living in pyramids. Ruddick is a supporter of President Donald Trump as well.

Since the wider world caught wind of Ruddick's character, Showtime has turned his Twitter feed and website into a sort of guerrilla marketing tactic for "Who is America?" It features a viral clip of prominent Republicans endorsing a program that would arm four-year-olds and warns against the evils of Showtime. It will probably only make people want to watch it more.

Sign up here to get INSIDER's favorite stories straight to your inbox.

you may also want to read