Actors sue producer of ‘vile and reprehensible’ anti-Islam movie claiming he dubbed over their voices with slurs against Muhammed… and three have hired a glamorous blonde lawyer
The actors who appear in the controversial film that has sparked riots across the Islamic world claim they were duped into appearing in the ‘vile’ production – and three have hired a glamorous blonde lawyer to represent them.
Stars including Cindy Lee Garcia and Anna Gurji say the film was altered after shooting to turn it into a piece of anti-Muslim propaganda and furiously deny any involvement.
They insist their voices were dubbed in the poorly produced film, after the trailer alone provoked widespread violence that has led to many deaths.
Glamorous California attorney Grace Ayers, 29, is representing three of the cast and claims her clients were told they were making a historical action adventure film set in the desert.
In a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles today, Ms Garcia demanded that Google and YouTube remove the Innocence of Muslims trailer from their sites.
She is suing the producer for fraud and slander, claiming he conned her into taking part in the ‘vile and reprehensible’ movie.
The grandmother said she believed she was acting in an ‘Arabian Desert adventure film’ but that Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, aka Sam Bacile, had changed the movie ‘grotesquely’, by the time it was released.
She claimed the producer, who has been forced into hiding since the 14-minute trailer rose to prominence last week, made it appear that she ‘voluntarily performed in a hateful anti-Islamic production.’
She even accuses him of dubbing over her voice to include lines that insulted the Muslim prophet Muhammed, which she insists she never said, according to TMZ.
Ms Garcia said she has been the target of numerous death threats since the film began garnering attention and, like the movie’s mastermind, has been forced into hiding with her family.
She added that she is no longer able to visit her grandchildren and has also been fired from her job because of the movie.
The lawsuit states Garcia responded to an ad for a film about ancient Egypt, adding that the pages of the script she received had no mention of the prophet Muhammed.
But she said it was altered to give it an anti-Islamic message.
‘The film is vile and reprehensible,’ wrote Ms Garcia’s attorney, M. Cris Armenta, in her complaint.
‘This lawsuit is not an attack on the First Amendment nor on the right of Americans to say what they think, but does request that the offending content be removed from the Internet,’ the complaint went on.
Ms Garcia’s attorneys plan to seek an injunction against the film tomorrow in a Los Angeles court.
She is also seeking unspecified damages from Google, YouTube and the producer.
Ms Garcia said the film has harmed her reputation and caused ‘shame, mortification, and hurt feelings’.
Google, YouTube (which is owned by Google) and Nakoula have yet to comment on the case.
The search giant has blocked users in Saudi Arabia, Libya and Egypt from viewing the ‘Innocence of Muslims’ trailer.
It has also blocked the video from being viewed in Indonesia and India because it violates laws in those countries.
The trailer was linked to protests that have since killed at least 30 people in seven countries, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya.
Garcia was the first actress to speak out against the director of the incendiary anti-Islam film that prompted global protests.
The grandmother was quick to announce that she and the other actors had no idea that the film’s producer, who they knew at Sam Bacile, wanted to use their acting to create an anti-Muslim movie.
‘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,’ Garcia said on Tuesday.
Her personal Facebook page, her professional modeling page, and the page of the Flame of Fire Outreach Church where she serves as an ordained minister have all been inundated with threats from individuals angered by the movie.
In one such threat, a man named Ahmad Nazir Bashiri said the actress is lucky that 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’, according to The New York Daily News.
In her first interview, when she spoke to Gawker and explained that she never saw any references to the prophet Muhammed or Islam, Ms Garcia thought that she was acting in a film called Desert Warriors.
‘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 Muhammed or Muslims or anything,’ she said.
Her Facebook page echoes that, as she proudly touts her participation in the film.
‘I have been doing feature films, just finished Broken Roads with Crevice Entertainment, also just wrapped up Dessert Warriors/ played a supporting role,’ she wrote.
She lists shooting as one of her hobbies, saying she is ‘very good with guns, love shooting am A Member Of Kern County Gun Club. Spend as much time as I can on the gun range’.
After a 14-minute trailer of the film was posted online, protests broke out throughout the Middle East and U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens was killed inside the Libyan embassy last week.
The next day, Garcia called the producer- who she still thought was named Sam Bacile- in a panic.
‘I called Sam and said, ‘Why did you do this?’ and he said, ‘I’m tired of radical Islamists killing each other. Let other actors know it’s not their fault,” Garcia said.
She is furious about the changes that were made after filming, as the final product refers to Muhammed as a paedophile and child molester.
‘I had nothing to do really with anything. Now we have people dead because of a movie I was in. It makes me sick,’ she said.
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula is escorted out of his home by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s officers in Cerritos, California
Though she spoke to ‘Sam’ and he acknowledged that none of the actors knew what was going on, that is not enough for her.
‘I’m going to sue his butt off,’ she said.
‘We’re looking for a new place to live right now. My husband is really worried. All my family is in hysterics,’ she said.
She said that she called the FBI and left messages reporting the threats she has been receiving but she has yet to hear back from the agency.
In the days following the protests, the true identity and criminal background of the film’s producer Nakoula have been revealed.
Nakoula is an Egyptian-born Coptic Christian. Now living in California, he is a convicted drug dealer and conman who was last released from jail in June last year.
A TV reporter is pictured outside the home of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula in Cerritos, California
Ms Garcia was the first but not the only actress involved in the project who has expressed her outrage at the final version of the film.
Anna Gurji, 21, who plays Muhammed’s child bride, spoke yesterday of her fear of reprisals and how she was ‘betrayed’ by Nakoula.
‘I was playing the youngest bride of a character named George,’ she said. ‘I had no idea George would be changed to Muhammed. I’m locked up in my house. I’m terrified people in the Middle East will blame me.
‘I’m Catholic so they might think I have something against Muslims. I’m taking pills to sleep. I’ve been crying for days. I feel betrayed. My face is stuck on the movie clip. People see that awful film and they see me.’
An unnamed representative for the 80-person cast released a statement to CNN, condemning the incendiary changes made in post-production that portrayed the prophet Muhammed as a pedophile and child molester.
‘We are shocked by the drastic re-writes of the script and lies that were told to all involved. We are deeply saddened by the tragedies that have occurred,’ the cast said in their statement.
The film sparked a violent protest at the U.S. consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi during which the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed last Tuesday. Protests have spread to other countries across the Muslim world.
For many Muslims, any depiction of the prophet is blasphemous. Caricatures deemed insulting in the past have provoked protests and drawn condemnations from officials, preachers, ordinary Muslims and many Christians.
U.S. officials have said authorities were 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, which has strong free speech laws.
Two attorneys visited Nakoula’s home hours before he was taken in for questioning. They said they were there to consult with him.
The violent protests over the film in Libya caused mob attacks in Benghazi that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other American officials.
Nakoula pleaded guilty to bank fraud in 2010 and was sentenced to 21 months in prison, to be followed by five years on supervised probation, court documents showed.
He was accused of fraudulently opening bank and credit card accounts using Social Security numbers that did not match the names on the applications, a criminal complaint showed. He was released in June 2011, and at least some production on the video was done later that summer.
But the terms of Nakoula’s prison release contain behavior stipulations that bar him from accessing the Internet or assuming aliases without the approval of his probation officer.
A senior law enforcement official in Washington has indicated the probation investigation relates to whether he broke one or both of these conditions. Violations could result in him being sent back to prison, court records show.