Actress sues ‘Muslims’ producer, YouTube

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.”

Popular on Variety

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.”

More Film

  • Aviron Pictures Hit With Layoffs

    Aviron Pictures Hit With Layoffs, Joel Kinnaman Action Movie 'The Informer' in Limbo

    Fledgling distributor Aviron Pictures has been hit with a significant staff reduction less than a month after the removal of top executive WIlliam Sadleir, numerous insiders told Variety.  Almost half of a staff of 30 were dismissed last week, amid wide rumors that the company’s deep-pocketed financier Black Rock has defunded the outfit entirely, sources [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein Bill Clinton

    Harvey Weinstein's Lawyer Seeks Mistrial When D.A. Refers to Bill Clinton Friendship

    Harvey Weinstein was associated with the Clintons for years, socially and as a generous donor to both of their political campaigns. And according to prosecutors in Weinstein’s criminal trial, he bragged about his friendship with the former president to women he allegedly sexually assaulted, in an effort to intimidate them. During opening statements on Wednesday, [...]

  • Channing Tatum

    Channing Tatum to Star in 'Bob the Musical' Comedy for Disney

    Channing Tatum is attached to star in and produce “Bob the Musical” for Disney — a project that’s been in development for more than a decade. Tatum will produce through his company, Free Association, and partners Reid Carolin and Peter Kiernan. Tripp Vinson and Chris Bender are also attached to produce. No director is currently [...]

  • John Henry

    'John Henry': Film Review

    Terry Crews’ John Henry is a man of few words. “John Henry,” the folklore-cribbing, violent thriller (opening theatrically and available on demand) about a former gang member who must face his demons when two young immigrants require his help, feels like it wants to say a lot. But what exactly? Utilizing horror-movie gestures and ladling [...]

  • Matt Damon SNL

    Matt Damon to Star in NYPD Thriller 'The Force'

    Matt Damon has come on board to star in “The Force” with James Mangold directing for Disney’s 20th Century Studios. Mangold, who directed Damon in “Ford v. Ferrari,” has been developing the Don Winslow bestseller since 2017. “The Force” centers on corrupt NYPD officers with Damon attached to play detective Denny Malone, who runs an [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein female juror

    Novelist Who Wrote About Predatory Men Stays on Harvey Weinstein Jury

    A novelist who has an upcoming book about predatory older men in New York will remain on the Harvey Weinstein jury, despite vociferous objections from the defense. Juror #11 showed up to opening statements on Wednesday, and sat through the full day of trial. Weinstein’s defense had argued last Friday that she should be removed [...]

  • Ride Like A Girl

    Australia Box Office Drops 2% in 2019

    Cinema box office in Australia dipped by 2% in 2019 to an annual total of A$1.23 billion, or $841 million, according to data from the Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia. That was the country’s third highest figure in local currency terms, but it also shows the theatrical industry to be rangebound since 2015. Australian-made [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content