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20 Sep, 2012 10:06

SueTube: Anti-Muslim film actress lawyers up on producer, Google and YouTube

SueTube: Anti-Muslim film actress lawyers up on producer, Google and YouTube

Threats “to chop her up and kill her family” have prompted an actress in the controversial film Innocence of Muslims to file a lawsuit against its producer, Google and YouTube. The whole cast insist they were cheated and tricked into the project.

A California court has denied the actress' request to take down the YouTube clip which was caused her to fear for the safety of her family. Judge Luis Lavin rejected the request from the actress because the man behind the film was not served with a copy of the lawsuit.Actress Cindy Lee Garcia, who appeared in the controversial movie, sought the film’s removal from the internet, saying that since it was posted she has been the target of numerous death threats and her right to privacy has been violated. She also accuses the producer of the film of fraud and slander. She names Google and YouTube as co-defendants for “invasion of privacy, unfair business practices, the use of her likeness without permission and intentional infliction of emotional distress.”Garcia says since the film began garnering attention she has been forced into hiding, has also been fired from her job and is no longer able to visit her grandchildren The movie has harmed her reputation and caused “shame, mortification, and hurt feelings,” she states in the suit, filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court.“I’m getting horrible death threats over the internet; people saying they’re going to cut me up, chop me up and kill me and my family,” claims the actress.Her personal internet pages have all been flooded with threats from people angered by the movie.One threat read that a man named Ahmad Nazir Bashiri said the actress is lucky he is nowhere near her because “otherwise I would have cut your head no matter what your country or lawmakers would have done to me,” as cited by The New York Daily News.The actress accuses the producer of the movie, whom she calls Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, who used the name Sam Bacile, of duping her into the controversial film, which she believed was about ancient Egypt. The pages of the script she received had no mention of the Prophet Mohammed. “It was going to be a film based on how things were 2,000 years ago. It wasn't based on anything to do with religion, it was just on how things were run in Egypt. There wasn't anything about Mohammed or Muslims or anything,” The Daily Mail quotes her as saying.

The actress explained that in the film, her character was forced to give away her child to a character named Master George in one scene. But in the English-language trailer on YouTube, her character appears to be overdubbed in that scene, with a voiceover referring to Mohammed instead of George.A representative for Nakoula’s criminal attorney declined to comment on the lawsuit. A Google spokesman said the company was reviewing the complaint and “will be in court.”Earlier this week another actress, Georgian Anna Gurji, who also appeared in the movie, released an open letter explaining that she also had no idea about the full plot of the film.She said the producers lied to the cast members and changed the film into a completely different product.Gurji claims she never read the full script, only those parts in which she played — which were translated to her.“There was no mention ever by anyone of Mohammed and no mention of religion during the entire time I was on the set,” she wrote in the letter. “The film was about a comet falling into the desert and different tribes in ancient Egypt fighting to acquire it for they deemed that the comet possessed some supernatural powers.”And the name of the film was then “Desert Warrior”, not “Innocence of Muslims,” she maintains.Gurji was in shock when she saw the final product.The producer of the film did not return to his house in the Los Angeles suburb of Cerritos after his interview with federal probation officers, and his whereabouts are unknown. His family – wife and three children were reported to have fled their home in California earlier. US officials however say authorities are not investigating the film project itself and that even if it was inflammatory or led to violence, simply producing it cannot be considered a crime in the United States. Google has rejected the White House’s request to “review” the suitability of the anti-Muslim film, but restricting the access to the clip on YouTube “in countries where it is considered illegal by local authorities; that is, to date, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia.”Last week, YouTube restricted access to the film in Egypt and Libya after these countries witnessed violent unrest.The governments of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Sudan have blocked access to YouTube in their countries. The United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Yemen have ordered the blocking access to all websites carrying the video.