Cindy Lee Garcia, an actress who appeared in the “Innocence of Muslims” movie that sparked worldwide protests in the Islamic world, filed a lawsuit last week in Los Angeles against Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the man thought to be behind the movie. The actress claims she was duped into playing a role that has put her life at risk. She also named YouTube and Google Inc as defendants for their role in distributing the film on the Internet. However, on Thursday, a California state court judge rejected her motion for an order asking YouTube to remove the film from its site. However, the lawyer of the actress confirmed that she was going to drop the state court lawsuit and going to file a new lawsuit in federal court.
Cris Armenta, Garcia’s lawyer stated on NBC’s “Today” show, “Today we will dismiss the state court lawsuit, but we’re going to file again today in federal court.” She said, “My client has a copyright claim … We intend to enforce it.”
Garcia’s matter is the first civil lawsuit against the video depicting Prophet Mohammad in derogatory light. Garcia’s lawyer maintains that third party content distributors must hold some responsibility for content on their platforms. She said, “I think we should be very clear that Google and YouTube are doing the wrong thing, that they say in their own terms and guidelines that hate speech is not allowed … How can this not be hate speech? How can this not be wrong, morally intellectually, legally?”
Google has already rejected a request by the White House to remove the clips from YouTube, though the company has blocked access to the clip in some Muslim countries like Egypt and Libya. The White House has also asked Google to reassess whether the video violated the terms of service of YouTube.
Garcia’s lawsuit claimed that the filmmaker had duped her into appearing in a “hateful” film she had been led to believe was a simple desert adventure movie.
On Friday, at least 15 people were killed during protests in Pakistan over the movie. Apparently, a Pakistan government minister has also offered $100,000 to anyone who kills the person behind the movie.