US Judge denies request from actress to remove “Innocence of Muslims” clip
LOS ANGELES: A US judge on Thursday denied a request seeking to force YouTube to remove an anti-Islam film trailer “Innocence of Muslims”, which has been blamed for causing deadly protests in the Muslim world.
The Los Angeles judge rejected the request from Cindy Lee Garcia, an actress who appears in the clip, in part because the man behind the film was not served with a copy of the lawsuit.
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the man behind ”Innocence of Muslims,” has gone into hiding since the trailer drew worldwide attention last week. The clip has been linked to protests that have killed at least 30 people in seven countries, including the US ambassador to Libya.
Garcia has said she and her family have been threatened and her career has been damaged since the 14-minute film trailer surfaced online. ”My whole life has been turned upside down in every aspect,” Garcia said before heading into court.
Garcia said she was tricked by Nakoula and that the script she saw referenced neither Muslims nor the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). She said she was shocked when she saw the end result. ”I think it’s demoralizing, degrading,” she said of the film. ”I think it needs to come off.”
Garcia on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against Nakoula for fraud and slander. The lawsuit says Garcia thought she was appearing in an ancient Egyptian adventure film called ”Desert Warriors.” Dialogue in the amateurish film was later dubbed to include anti-Islamic messages and to portray Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as a fraud, a womanizer and a child molester. It was also translated into Arabic.
YouTube has refused Garcia’s requests to remove the film, according to the lawsuit. YouTube said it is reviewing the complaint, and its lawyers were in court Thursday. The site is owned by search giant Google. ”The film is vile and reprehensible,” Garcia’s attorney, M. Cris Armenta, wrote in the document.
A man who answered the phone at the law offices of Steven Seiden, who represents Nakoula on any criminal repercussions he may face, declined comment. He said Seiden does not represent Nakoula, who is on probation for a bank fraud case in which he opened 600 fraudulent credit accounts, in civil matters.
According to the terms of his probation, Nakoula was allowed to only access websites with the permission of probation officials and for work purposes. It is unclear who uploaded the film to YouTube.
The lawsuit also names Sam Bacile, an alias that Nakoula gave to The Associated Press after the trailer emerged.