Participant in video claims fraud, slander
An actress featured in the incendiary video “Innocence of Muslims” has filed suit against the movie’s producer as well as YouTube, seeking to have the video removed as she claims fraud, invasion of privacy, slander and violation of her right of publicity.
Cindy Lee Garcia, who came forward last week to express dismay at the project that triggered protests throughout the Middle East, filed her claim Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court. Listed as defendant is Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, also known as Sam Bacile, identified as one of the producers of the film. Google and YouTube are also named as defendants.
Her attorney, M. Cris Armenta, said that she will seek a temporary restraining order against Nakoula and YouTube in Los Angeles Superior Court on Thursday.
Garcia claims that in July 2011, she responded to a casting call in Backstage for a project called “Desert Warrior,” and that Bacile “represented to her that the film was indeed an adventure film and about ancient Egyptians.”
Given pages of the script for “Desert Warrior,” her suit states that “there was no mention of ‘Mohammed’ during the filming or on the set. There were no references made to religion nor was there any sexual content of which Ms. Garcia was aware.”
Her suit also claims that her acting work “has been changed grotesquely to make it appear that Ms. Garcia voluntarily performed in a hateful anti-Islamic production. The film is vile and reprehensible.”
She also claims that the dialogue spoken by her and her castmates was dubbed into Arabic.
After the film set off violence and protests in the Middle East, her suit said that she received death threats.
In addition she said that she requested that YouTube remove the film but YouTube informed her in writing that it declined to remove the content.
Her claim of slander charges that statements were literally “put in her mouth” and that she “never called the founder of Islam a child molester, either on the set of the film or at any other place or time.” In her claim of invasion of privacy, her suit states that the film was made to appear as if “she made outrageously bigoted statements that she never said and does not endorse.”
She is seeking unspecified damages and injunctive relief.
Armenta told Variety that it is “currently unknown” what or if Garcia signed a release contract to appear in the movie, but she said that it would be irrelevant to the claim. “Our view is (we) don’t care how broad it is,” Armenta said, as such a document would have been “induced by fraud.”