Actress in offensive film sues producer
Updated: 2012-09-21 08:15
An actress in the anti-Islamic trailer that set off violent protests in the Muslim world has sued the reputed producer, saying he duped her into thinking it was about ancient Egyptians.
Cindy Lee Garcia is one of three actresses in the film to have come forward with similar accusations since the explosion of violence that ripped through Muslim countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia last week.
Garcia is suing in a Los Angeles court on grounds of invasion of privacy, fraud, slander and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
She is targeting Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a 55-year-old Egyptian Copt and convicted fraudster - out on parole - who lives in Los Angeles and has admitted to working on the film, Innocence of Muslims.
US media said Nakoula wrote and produced the film, using the pseudonym Sam Bacile before being identified. He was questioned overnight on Sept 14 by police before going into hiding with his family.
Garcia is also suing YouTube and its owner Google for releasing excerpts of the very amateurish film, which was later dubbed into Arabic and made to show Muhammad as a thuggish womanizer.
"Mr Bacile represented to her that the film was indeed an adventure film about ancient Egyptians," the suit states.
Garcia says she later realized it was another thing altogether and that her life was now in danger.
"She has been subjected to credible death threats and is in fear of her life and the life and safety of anyone associated with her," the suit states.
The head of the Christian broadcasting charity Media for Christ, identified as the production company behind the movie, said on Tuesday that he, too, had been fooled by the producer. He said he had been told the film would be about "Christian persecution".
In a separate development, Google on Thursday blocked YouTube users in Singapore from viewing clips of the film, acting on a request by city authorities.
Attempts to access the low-budget film on the Google-owned video-sharing website resulted in a message reading: "This content is not available in your country due to a government removal request".
Google has also blocked access to clips of the film in Muslim-majority neighbors Malaysia and Indonesia.
"Where we have launched YouTube locally and we are notified that a video is illegal in that country, we will restrict access to it after a thorough review," a Google spokesperson told AFP.