Actress Cindy Lee Garcia appears in "Innocence of Muslims"
The anti-Islam film ignited a firestorm, and Garcia says she has received death threats
Garcia is suing the film's producer, saying she was lied to about the film's intent
"I had no idea he was doing all this," Garcia tells CNN
One of the actresses in “Innocence of Muslims” – the anti-Islam film that ignited a firestorm in the Muslim world – is suing the producer of the film, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, claiming she is a victim of fraud, invasion of privacy and misappropriation of her likeness.
In a 17-page complaint filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, the lawsuit from Cindy Lee Garcia also names YouTube LLC, the video-sharing website on which the video is posted, and its parent company, Google Inc., as causing irreparable harm to Ms. Garcia for refusing to remove the content from their site.
“”The lawsuit is not an attack on the First Amendment or the right of Americans to say what they think,” but it demands the content be pulled off because “Ms. Garcia in no way consented to the use of her performance, image or likeness in such an offensive and vile film,” Garcia’s attorney, M. Cris Armenta, said in a statement.
In an interview with CNN, Garcia said she spoke with the producer after the unrest began.
“He said he wrote the script because he wants the Muslims to quit killing,” Garcia said. “I had no idea he was doing all this.”
Last week, Garcia told CNN she had been unaware that her voice was dubbed but the lawsuit alleges even further voice-over alternations of her on-camera dialogue.”
The producers’ representations that he “intended to make an ‘adventure film’ and that plaintiff would be depicted as a concerned mother, were false,” the suit claims. “Defendant … made an anti-Islam propaganda film, in which plaintiff is falsely made to appear to accuse the founder of the Islamic religion of being a sexual deviant and child molester,” the suit says.
On Wednesday, 79 cast and crew members released a statement saying they were “extremely upset and feel taken advantage of by the producer.”
They said they were “shocked by the drastic rewrites of the script and lies that were told to all involved. We are deeply saddened by the tragedies that have occurred.”
The lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages against Nakoula for invasion of privacy, fraud, negligence, and the intentional infliction of emotional distress. “Ms. Garcia has lost her job, her privacy, and has suffered extreme distress over Nakoula’s acts,” according to the lawsuit.
According to the complaint, YouTube privately informed Ms. Garcia that it will not voluntarily remove the content of the video. Attorney Armenta said that on Thursday, she will seek an emergency temporary restraining order against Nakoula and YouTube, asking that the content be removed permanently.
Garcia claims since the film’s backlash, she has received death threats and unable to visit her grandchildren out of fear that they will be harmed.
Calls to representatives of Mr. Nakoula were not immediately returned.
YouTube responded to e-mail inquiries from CNN with an e-mail stating: “We are reviewing the complaint and will be in court tomorrow.”