YouTube slapped with lawsuit by 'Innocence of Muslims' actress

The film that sparked protests across the Middle East is now the subject of a lawsuit brought by one of the video's actresses, who says she was unaware of its anti-Muslim content.

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
Dara Kerr
2 min read
A protest in Egypt is one of many that have erupted in the wake of the anti-Islam film posted to YouTube. CBS News

As violence and outrage continues throughout the Middle East over a video trailer posted on YouTube that mocks Islam's prophet, one of the film's actresses filed a lawsuit today requesting that the video site remove the clip.

Cindy Lee Garcia, who has a role in "Innocence of Muslims," said that she did not know about the movie's anti-Muslim content while filming and her script did not mention the prophet Muhammad, religion, or sexual content, according to The Huffington Post.

"The film is vile and reprehensible," Garcia's attorney, M. Cris Armenta, wrote in the complaint, according to The Huffington Post. "This lawsuit is not an attack on the First Amendment nor on the right of Americans to say what they think, but does request that the offending content be removed from the Internet."

The 14-minute video, originally uploaded to YouTube in July, was a trailer for a movie produced by a Southern California filmmaker named Nakoula Basseley Nakoula. It denigrates the prophet Muhammad as a buffoonish, skirt-chasing molester. In the violent blowback of outrage sparked by the film, four Americans working for the State Department in Benghazi, including the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, lost their lives, and protests were launched across the Middle East.

The White House wants YouTube to take the video down everywhere. But for now YouTube's response is no, saying the clip does not violate YouTube's community-standards guidelines governing the United States. However, Google, which owns YouTube, has blocked the video in Egypt, Libya, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, and India. Pakistan's government decided to ban YouTube altogether because of its refusal to block the clip.

In addition to requesting that YouTube remove the film, Garcia is also suing Nakoula for fraud and slander, according to the Huffington Post. She said she believed she was to appear in an adventure film about ancient Egypt called "Desert Warriors." Garcia said that since the release of the trailer she has received death threats and that keeping the film online violates her right of publicity and invades her privacy rights.

A YouTube representative told CNET that it is "reviewing the complaint and will be in court tomorrow." For now, the site has posted a notice that users must accept to watch the "Innocence of Muslims," which says, "The following content has been identified by the YouTube community as being potentially offensive or inappropriate. Viewer discretion is advised."