Innocence of Muslims: Cast and crew repudiate anti-Islam ‘film’
Innocence of Muslims, an amateurish, rabidly anti-Islam ‘film’ – actually, more like a homemade video made three decades ago – whose Arabic-dubbed version was initially blamed for this week’s attacks by Muslim fanatics against the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and the U.S. embassy in Cairo, was initially called “Desert Warrior.”
According to 80 cast and crew members of the film, they thought “Desert Warrior” was going to be an adventure flick set in Biblical times. Indeed, the movie’s casting notice on Backstage calls it a “historical Arabian Desert adventure film.” Below is the statement submitted to CNN on behalf of those who worked on what eventually became Innocence of Muslims:
“The entire cast and crew are extremely upset and feel taken advantage of by the producer. We are 100 percent not behind this film and were grossly misled about its intent and purpose. We are shocked by the drastic re-writes of the script and lies that were told to all involved. We are deeply saddened by the tragedies that have occurred.”
Coptic Christian involved in meth manufacture + bank fraud
The man behind Innocence of Muslims is Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a.k.a. Sam Bacile a.k.a. Sam Bassiel, an Egyptian-born Coptic Christian living in California. Nakoula / Bacile had claimed to be a 52-year-old California-based Israeli property developer, alleging that he had made his “movie” with the help of 100 Jewish donors. Nakoula’s rap sheet, it has been revealed, includes a charge of “intent to manufacture methamphetamine” and a conviction for bank fraud.
Also, a “consultant” on Innocence of Muslims is a Christian man named Steve Klein. According to The Southern Poverty Law Center (via Salon.com), Klein “founded Courageous Christians United, which conducts protests outside abortion clinics, Mormon temples and mosques, and started Concerned Citizens for the First Amendment, which preaches against Muslims and publishes volumes of anti-Muslim propaganda that Klein distributes. He also has helped train paramilitary militias at the church of Kaweah near Three Rivers, about an hour southeast of Fresno, to prepare for what they believe is a coming holy war with Muslim sleeper cells ….”
Now, claims that Innocence of Muslims cost $5 million are laughable. All you need is a quick look at the film’s 13-minute preview on YouTube.
Also worth noting, is that a “sound-production expert” transcribed for the International Business Times “the instances of dialogue he believed were overdubbed and emailed his notes to IBTimes. Each instance of overdubbing was a reference to Islam or the Muslim faith.” Once again, watching the preview one doesn’t need to be a “sound-production expert” to see where – the quite obvious – overdubbing took place.
Innocence of Muslims lawsuit?
Apparently, Nakoula should be afraid not only of radical Muslims, but also of angry actors – whose lives may have been endangered by Innocence of Muslims. As quoted in the IBTimes, entertainment lawyer James T. Hetz says “the actors could have claims for fraud, right of publicity, false light, inappropriate use of name and likeness, libel and defamation and removal of screen credit. Additionally, the employment contracts may provide a further basis for a claim.”
Sept. 15 update: Innocence of Muslims, the polemical anti-Islam “film” (actually, a cheap amateur video), now has not only a producer, but also a director. The “Israeli entrepreneur Sam Bacile” has been exposed as the Egyptian Coptic Christian Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, who allegedly misled all (or most) of those involved in the production. And Gawker has reported that Alan Roberts a.k.a. Robert Brownell, the director of a handful of softcore porn movies in the ’70s and early ’80s, helmed “Desert Warrior,” a cheesy Arabian adventure that was to become – following some sloppy overdubbing – Innocence of Muslims. (Image: Innocence of Muslims screenshot. Check out: “Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Submission Part II: Gays and Islam.”)
Besides the now infamous “Desert Warrior” / Innocence of Muslims, which has been blamed for riots in several Muslim countries, Alan Roberts’ movie credits include The Sexpert (1972), Panorama Blue (1974), Young Lady Chatterley (1977), and The Happy Hooker Goes Hollywood (1980), which features Jack Lemmon’s son Chris Lemmon, veteran Phil Silvers (who danced with Rita Hayworth and Gene Kelly in Cover Girl), in addition to TV Batman Adam West at the receiving end in a simulated oral sex scene.
In the ’90s, Roberts worked with better known names – who had seen better days – in a handful of low-budget flicks: Karate Kop (1991), with David Carradine; Round Trip to Heaven (1992), with Ray Sharkey, Corey Feldman, and Zach Galligan; and the erotic thriller Save Me (1994), with Harry Hamlin, Olivia Hussey, Michael Ironside, and Steve Railsback.
Alan Roberts also produced several little-known movies, among them a handful of his own films, and in the last two decades edited nearly 30 titles. Though minor efforts, a few of them featured well-known names, e.g., Academy Award winner Ellen Burstyn in 30 Days, Johnny Knoxville and Christina Applegate in Grand Theft Parsons.
Alan Roberts also duped?
According to Gawker, a friend of the “Desert Warrior” director described him as “non-political.” In fact, Alan Roberts, much like the film’s cast and crew, may have been just another Innocence of Muslims collaborator duped by the film’s backers. Although Roberts reportedly worked on the “Desert Warrior” editing, the overdubbing – insertions of dialogue about Islam, Muslims, and Muhammad – could easily have been done at a later date.
Unlike the Innocence of Muslims actors, whose faces are visible to all who’ve bothered watching the videos uploaded on YouTube, an unidentified man assumed to be Nakoula Basseley Nakoula had his face fully covered while leaving his Cerritos home to be interviewed by Los Angeles Police Department probation officers. Nakoula had been convicted of bank fraud three years ago and had been banned from accessing the Internet. (Image: Innocence of Muslims screenshot.)
Nakoula – while still passing for the Israeli entrepreneur Sam Bacile – referred to Islam as “a cancer, period,” and called Innocence of Muslims “a political movie. The U.S. lost a lot of money and a lot of people in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but we’re fighting with ideas.”
Among the “ideas” found in Innocence of Muslims are modern-day Muslim fanatics killing an unarmed Christian woman and the Muslim prophet Muhammad talking about child rape and performing oral sex on a young woman. [Check out: “Theo van Gogh murdered by Muslim radical.”]
Media for Christ backing
According to the Los Angeles Times, Joseph Nassralla Abdelmasih a.k.a. Joseph Nasrallah, whose nonprofit organization Media for Christ secured the permit to produce Innocence of Muslims, is now in hiding. (Nakoula, while passing for “Sam Bacile,” had tried to place the responsibility for Innocence of Muslims onto Jews and Israelis.)
On its Myspace page, the Duarte-, California, based Media for Christ explains the reasons for its existence: “The International Media is crowded with many topics that do not bring glory to the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord has given me the vision for Media for Christ so we could proclaim the peace of Jesus through an effective Christian media that would positively touch everyone. In June 2005 by the grace of God Media for Christ was established to become the light that shows Jesus Christ to all human beings.”
Note: The Media for Christ above is not the same Media for Christ based in New Zealand (and easily found on Internet searches). The owner of that website has posted the following:
“How a bunch of cowards (all those responsible for [Innocence of Muslims]) can believe they are better than anyone else beats me! What were the producers thinking??? … I strongly denounce this terrible film. I have no association or affiliation, formally or informally with the Duarte-based Media For Christ.”
See also: Polemical Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh.