But by the end, the event appeared to have been sabotaged by an elaborate prank that gained widespread internet attention over the weekend.
Sacha Baron Cohen — though it’s still unclear whether the comedian was indeed responsible for the stunt. His publicist has not returned CNN’s request for comment and he hasn’t publicly commented on the matter.
“Unfortunately the event organizers were set up by a false flag gag, designed to try and make the event look bad, and it is suspected it was notorious gag artist Sasha Cohen,” the right-wing group Oath Keepers wrote on Facebook, pointing the finger squarely at the British comedian.
Baron Cohen, known for portraying fictional characters such as Ali G and Borat, has previously set up unsuspecting conservatives in attempts to ridicule them on his satirical TV series “Who Is America?”, which aired on Showtime in 2018.
Video that was streamed live from the event appeared to show a singer in a red shirt and blue overalls engaging the crowd in a racist singalong. The song’s lyrics referenced Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Anthony Fauci, and referred to the coronavirus as the “Wuhan flu.” CNN was also mentioned.
Event organizers said they tried to unplug the mic
“We got catfished,” Allen Acosta, the event organizer, said in a video from the event, posted by Oath Keepers.
Emcee Matt Marshall, the founder and former leader of the Three Percenters of Washington, another right-wing group, said in the video that a group describing itself as…