September 13, 2012
As protests rage over anti-Muslim movie, the cast claims it was misled by script
Protests over an anti-Muslim film continued outside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, while in Yemen security guards fired at demonstrators who stormed the U.S. Embassy gates.
On Thursday in Yemen, the protesters tore down the American flag and burned it, according to reports. The protests in Cairo continued late Wednesday, a day after protesters climbed the embassy walls and tore down and tried to torch the American flag.
Security reportedly was increased at U.S. embassies and diplomatic missions around the globe in the aftermath of the violence allegedly incited by the film “Innocence of Muslims."
The two-hour film, which attacks the Islamic prophet Muhammad, was seen as leading to the killing of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other U.S. diplomats in a rocket attack on Tuesday at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. The protests were sparked by the translation into Arabic of a trailer for the movie.
In a statement sent to CNN, the 80 members of the cast and crew said they were "grossly misled" about the film, which they believed was a historical movie about life in the Arabian Desert.
"We are shocked by the drastic rewrites of the script and lies that were told to all involved," the statement said according to CNN. "We are deeply saddened by the tragedies that have occurred."
Anti-Muslim dialogue was dubbed in after the filming, an unnamed actress, who also said there was no Muhammad character in the script, told CNN.
The actress said she spoke to the director Wednesday and "He said he wrote the script because he wants the Muslims to quit killing," CNN reported. The director reportedly told the Wall Street Journal that "Islam is a cancer."
Media outlets, including JTA, had reported that a man calling himself Sam Bacile, who said he was the film's director and producer, claimed that he was an Israeli American real estate developer. But a consultant to the film, Steve Klein, a self-described militant Christian activist in Riverside, Calif., told the Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg that the film's director is not Israeli and that the name is a pseudonym.
Bacile told the Associated Press that he went into hiding on Tuesday night, speaking to international media from an undisclosed location.
Klein told Goldberg that some 15 people were associated with the making of the film, all American citizens and most evangelicals.
Klein was called an "extremist" by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which said he is "Secretary and Founder" of Courageous Christians United, a group that protests outside of mosques and abortion clinics.
A high-ranking Israeli official in Los Angeles told JTA Wednesday that extensive inquiries among Hollywood insiders and members of the local Israeli community failed to turn up a single person who knew a Sam Bacile.
The Israeli government in Jerusalem could not turn up any citizenship records under that name, while California officials reported that no real estate license had ever been issued to a Sam Bacile.
Media bloggers and columnists are questioning why Bacile would claim that the $5 million film was paid for by "100 Jewish donors," calling it a set-up. Blogger Edward Blackthorn (www.publici.com) raised some basic questions as to why $5 million was needed for a film described as “unprofessional” by the Hollywood Reporter, and expressed doubt that any producer could find 100 financial backers for such a dubious enterprise.