A US judge on Thursday rejected a request by an actress in the sacrilegious video, which set off violent Muslim protests, to ban YouTube from showing its trailer.
Lawyers for actress Cindy Lee Garcia requested a restraining order to prevent the online video-sharing service from continuing to show the low-budget movie trailer after claiming that she was duped. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Louis Lavin refused the request.
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.
She sued YouTube and its owner Google for releasing excerpts of the amateurish film ‘Innocence of Muslims’. Her lawsuit, filed Wednesday, alleges that the the movie’s director, identified by the pseudonym Sam Bacile, presented it as an adventure film about ancient Egyptians, called ‘Desert Warrior’.
Garcia has suffered severe emotional distress, financial setbacks and the ‘destruction of her career and reputation’, the lawsuit says. The actress’s lawyer Cris Armenta said she was duped by the producer and now her life is in danger. “Clearly she was defrauded,” he said.
Speaking before the hearing, Garcia said she hoped the court would take immediate action to ban YouTube from hosting the video trailer, arguing that its continued availability puts her at risk of attack.
“I think, yes, we have a right to free speech, but what they did was wrong,” she said, calling the movie ‘degrading and demoralising’. After the court ruling she told reporters: “I’m not giving up.”
The US actress also filed a lawsuit against the reported producer of the film, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, on grounds of invasion of privacy, fraud, slander and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The 55-year-old convicted fraudster – out on parole – lives in Los Angeles and has admitted to working on the film. US media says Nakoula wrote and produced the film, using the pseudonym Sam Bacile before being identified. He was questioned overnight on Friday by police before going into hiding with his family.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 22nd, 2012.