LOS ANGELES, Calif. - An actress who appears in the anti-Muslim film that has sparked riots in the Middle East is suing the filmmaker for fraud and slander and suing Google to try to get the movie’s trailer removed online.
Cindy Lee Garcia’s lawsuit filed Wednesday in Los Angeles claims the actress was duped by Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the man behind “Innocence of Muslims” who has been forced into hiding since its 14-minute trailer rose to prominence last week. She was unaware of the film’s anti-Muslim content and said the pages of the script she received had no mention of the prophet Muhammad, according to her complaint.
The lawsuit states Garcia responded to an ad and thought she was appearing in an ancient Egyptian adventure film, which was altered to give it an anti-Islamic message.
“The film is vile and reprehensible,” Garcia’s attorney, M. Cris Armenta, wrote in the document.
“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 states. Garcia’s attorneys plan to seek an injunction against the film Thursday in a Los Angeles court.
Garcia has received death threats since the trailer began drawing attention, and her suit states she no longer is able to visit her grandchildren as a result. It has also harmed her reputation and caused “shame, mortification, and hurt feelings,” the suit states.
An email sent to Google seeking comment was not immediately returned. The search giant owns YouTube and 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.
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 the site.
The lawsuit also names Sam Bacile, an alias that Nakoula gave to The Associated Press after the trailer was linked to protests that have since killed at least 30 people in seven countries, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya.