An online fundraiser for Jeanise Jones, a 62-year-old who appeared in the new Borat film, had raised over $125,000 (€107,000) at the time of writing.
The grandmother-of-six has been labelled the “breakout star” of Sacha Baren Cohen”s mockumentary named Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, which sees lead characters play tricks on unsuspecting people in the US.
Jones’ pastor, Derrick Scobey, set up the appeal for people to say “thank you to Jeanise” who is a “faithful church member and just an overall great person who will help anyone”.
“She wasn’t paid much money at all for her role in this movie,” he said, adding she was currently unemployed “due to Covid” after previously working at a job for 32 years.
Jones was duped into believing she was babysitting the lead character’s teenage daughter, Tutar, played by actress Maria Bakalova, in the film.
The pastor said she was recruited from the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Oklahoma City by producers who told him they were looking for a “Black grandmother” for a small role in a documentary.
Many applauded Jones after she displayed empathy towards Tutar in several scenes and deflected her misogynistic comments.
The grandmother told the actress she did not need plastic surgery to attract a man, saying that for Tutar to “be happy” she should “use your brain, because your daddy is a liar”.
“This was not scripted for Jeanise. It all came from the heart. She is one of the most authentic people I’ve ever met,” wrote Scobey.
He added that before she learned it was not a real documentary, Jones was “WORRIED about this young lady for a year”.
Jones told the New York Post she only found out the real motive of the Amazon Prime film when she saw the trailer and “felt pain for her (Tutar)”.
She said she was paid around $3,600 (€3,084) for her part in the project.
“It was uplifting to learn that your kindness and generous advise in the film’s ‘hypothetical situation’ (a moral test that most people failed, trying instead to take advantage of that girl) was all real. Thank you!” one person who donated wrote.
“Ms. Jones, you were the most authentic and good hearted human being in the film and I loved how you took good care of Borat’s daughter!” wrote another.