Judge denies actress' bid to remove anti-Islam film
- 20 September 2012
- From the section US & Canada
A California judge has denied an actress' request to remove from YouTube an anti-Islam video that sparked riots in the Muslim world.
Cindy Lee Garcia says she has received death threats over the film trailer, in a lawsuit against Google, which owns YouTube, and a man linked to the film.
Garcia said she had been misled by the maker of the amateur movie and was unaware of its anti-Muslim content.
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the trailer's alleged producer, is in hiding.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Luis Lavin said in his ruling that he had rejected Garcia's request partly because the man who is believed to have made the film had not been served a copy of the lawsuit.
"The request for a temporary restraining order is denied," Judge Lavin said. "The plaintiff has not shown a likelihood to prevail on the merits."
Judge Lavin also said that Garcia had not been able to produce an agreement related to her role in the film, and as a third-party, Google and YouTube were protected from liability.
Before appearing in court on Thursday, Garcia said she had been left emotionally disturbed by the fallout from the film trailer.
"My whole life has been turned upside down in every aspect," she said. "My family has been threatened."
Referring to the video, Garcia added: "I think it's demoralising, degrading. I think it needs to come off [YouTube]."
A clip for the US-made film, Innocence of Muslims, was dubbed into Arabic, provoking widespread anger for its disrespectful portrayal of the Prophet Muhammad.
The film was made on a very low budget, with insults and offensive inferences to the Prophet Mohammad and Islam crudely dubbed on afterwards.
But it has not broken any laws in the US, where freedom of speech is enshrined in the constitution's first amendment.
A lawyer for Google said actors did not have rights over how their films were interpreted.
"If we viewed it that way we'd say that Arnold Schwarzenegger as a cyborg in Terminator was a factual statement about Arnold Schwarzenegger," lawyer Timothy Alger told Reuters news agency.
Last week, YouTube did block access to the video in Egypt and Libya.
On Wednesday, it extended restrictions to "countries where it is considered illegal by local authorities. That is, to date, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia."
Some countries, such as Pakistan and Sudan, have blocked access to the clip themselves.
Garcia has also filed a lawsuit against Nakoula for fraud and slander. In court documents, Garcia says she had been led to believe the project was a desert adventure film.
"There was no mention of Mohammed during filming or on set," the lawsuit said. "There were no references made to religion, nor was there any sexual content of which Ms Garcia was aware."
The trailer has sparked furious protests across the Middle East, North Africa and as far away as Sri Lanka.
Four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stephens, were killed last week during an attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
A total of 30 people have died in seven countries as a result of the protests.