US judge rejects new bid to pull anti-Islam film from YouTube
A federal US judge has rejected a new legal attempt to force YouTube to withdraw an anti-Islamic film that triggered violent protests across the Muslim world.
Actress Cindy Lee Garcia sought a restraining order against the online video giant, claiming that she was duped into appearing in the controversial production, Innocence of Muslims. But US District judge Michael W. Fitzgerald rejected the request, and set a next hearing for November 19.
Garcia says she thought she signed up for a film called Desert Warrior about life 2 000 years ago, and only realised her lines had been dubbed over when the row erupted last month with anti-US demonstrations.
She is one of at least three actresses in the film to come forward claiming they were tricked into taking part in the film, which depicts the Prophet Mohammed as a thuggish deviant.
In an initial lawsuit filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court last month, Garcia alleged she has suffered severe emotional distress, financial setbacks and the “destruction of her career and reputation.”
Judge Louis Lavin refused her request for a restraining order to prevent YouTube, a subsidiary of Google, from continuing to show the 14-minute package of clips from the film.
Her lawyer therefore took the legal case to the federal court in Santa Clarita, California.
The English version of the trailer, which has been withdrawn from YouTube in a number of countries, includes blatantly dubbed over parts of dialogue, and Mohammed’s name seems to have been added in post production.
The amateurish film sparked a wave of anti-US protests in a number of countries that cost several lives and saw mobs set US missions, schools and businesses ablaze.
On September 11, the anniversary of the al Qaeda attacks on New York and Washington, US ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed in an attack on the US consulate in Benghazi.
The 55-year-old behind the film, Mark Basseley Youssef — previously known as Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, and Sam Bacile, among other pseudonyms — was arrested last month.
He appeared for a second time in court last week to deny violating the terms of probation for a 2010 banking fraud conviction. His lawyer claims his client is not to blame for violent protests in the Middle East.