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Jason Spencer, the Georgia state congressman who was tricked into doing some ridiculous (and insulting) things on camera for Sacha Baron Cohen's Showtime series, Who Is America? on Sunday, has decided to resign his post. Spencer has declared that his last day will be July 31, meaning that he will forego his final five months in office.
Many people called for Jason Spencer's resignation after he appeared on Who Is America? over the weekend. On the show, comedian/shape-shifter Sacha Baron Cohen posed as fake Israeli anti-terrorism expert Col. Erran Morad, and convinced the congressman to undergo a series of exercises that he claimed would fend off potential homophobic Islamic terrorist kidnappers. This included Spencer trying to back into his would be attackers with his pants down while yelling "USA," doing the same action with his bare butt exposed, and also yelling "the n-word." When Spencer willingly yelled out the racial slur several times, Cohen (still posing as Morad) quickly corrected him by saying that the n-word he meant was actually "noonie" and proceeded to admonish him for freely using the slur.
According to Deadline, which saw the resignation letter Jason Spencer sent to Georgia House Speaker David Ralston, he also used a stereotypical Asian accent and tried to take a photo under a woman's burqa for his portion of the show, and all of this led to people condemning his behavior and calling for him to resign. Originally, Spencer said that he planned to stay in office and finish his term, especially since he would be out of the position relatively soon because he lost the recent primary for his seat. Spencer sent a statement to the Washington Post saying that he was easily duped by Cohen because of his "paralyzing fear" for the safety of his family following death threats they received last year after he proposed some legislation that many disagreed with. His statement also included an apology for "this ridiculously ugly episode," but none of that was enough to quiet the people who were calling for him to resign.
Whatever you might think of Jason Spencer's political views, it's pretty clear that people were not happy about seeing him make such a spectacle of himself on national television. And, Spencer's reasons for going along with Cohen's exercises aside, the idea that he was so terrified of a potential attack that he thought pulling his pants and underwear down on camera would be acceptable left many people with the belief that he's simply not made of strong enough stuff to hold public office. And, it would seem that the resulting mocking and condemnations were too much for Spencer to handle for the rest of his term.