Anti-Muslim film actress goes to federal court
Cindy Lee Garcia, one of the actresses in "Innocence of Muslims," holds a news conference before a hearing at Los Angeles Superior Court in Los Angeles Sept. 20, 2012. / AP Photo
(CBS/AP) An actress who appeared in an anti-Muslim film trailer that sparked violence in the Middle East has filed a new legal challenge after failing to have the 14-minute trailer taken down from YouTube.
Cindy Lee Garcia, who appeared in "Innocence of Muslims," sued YouTube, its parent company Google and the man behind the film in a lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Santa Clara, Calif., the Reuters news agency reports.
Garcia sued the same trio in a Los Angeles County court earlier this month but lost her case. In her new lawsuit, she makes a copyright claim for her acting in the trailer.
The 14-minute trailer depicts Islam's Prophet Muhammad as a womanizer, religious fraud and child molester.
Garcia claimed she was duped by Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the man behind the video who has gone into hiding since it gained attention, and that the script she saw referenced neither Muslims nor Muhammad. She also said her voice had been dubbed over after filming.
She argues in her lawsuit that those changes make her appear to have "voluntarily performed in a hateful, anti-Islamic production," Reuters reports. The suit also says Garcia has "been subjected to credible death threats and is in fear for her life and the life and safety of anyone associated with her."
Garcia said she has been threatened at least eight times and has called the FBI.
The video posted to YouTube has been linked to protests that raged across the Middle East. The White House had asked YouTube to review whether it violates the site's content standards, but the company said it does not.
Last Thursday, Superior Court Judge Luis Lavin rejected Garcia's request because she wasn't able to produce any agreement she had with the makers of "Innocence of Muslims" and Nakoula hadn't been served with a copy of her lawsuit.
Her lawsuit mirrored similar claims made by those who said they were fooled by actor Sacha Baron Cohen during the making of "Borat" and "Bruno." The British comedian was unsuccessfully sued by some non-actors who appeared in his movie who weren't familiar with his outlandish characters.
Garcia's attorney, Cris Armenta, argued in court that her client was used a puppet to make the film, and she was clearly defrauded and lied to by the people behind the movie.
"She did not sign on to be a bigot," Armenta said.
Timothy Alger, the lawyer representing Google at last Thursday's hearing, said the company shouldn't be responsible for what transpired between Garcia and the filmmakers. He said no matter how someone views the content "it is something of widespread debate."
YouTube has blocked users in Saudi Arabia, Libya and Egypt from viewing the clip, as well as Indonesia and India, because it violates laws in those countries.
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