Yesterday a judge in California ruled against actress Cindy Lee Garcia's plea that YouTube take down footage from "Innocence of Muslims," the preposterously amateurish, nearly unwatchable hack-job of a film responsible for sparking a firestorm of violence and anti-U.S. protests in the Middle East.
Garcia, who starred in the film, requested that a Los Angeles County judge remove the film because she's received death threats, been fired from her job and been barred from seeing her grandchildren. Garcia said that she was hoodwinked into starring in the "hateful anti-Islamic production" and was originally under the impression she was starring in an adventure film about ancient Egyptians.
Superior Court Judge Luis Lanvin ruled in favor of Google, owners of YouTube, who argued that movies are fictional, thus not entitling personal privacy to role-playing actors.
" Arnold Schwarzenegger's statements as a cyborg [in the movie 'Terminator'] factual statements about Arnold Schwarzenegger? Well, that's not correct," lawyer Timothy Alger told the court, according to NY Daily News.
"Our laws encourage free speech, especially with matters of public concern. We don't allow people with private interests to trump that," he said. "No matter how we view the content, whether it's reprehensible or mocking, the fact is, it's a subject of wide debate on a topic of interest for people around the world."
According to the Los Angeles Times, Garcia's lawyer, Chris Armenta, argued that this case is "not a First Amendment issue. This is an invasion of privacy issue." Armenta has vowed to push forward until the video is removed.
The film's schlocky 14-minute YouTube trailer — full of fake beards, atrocious acting not worthy of civic theater and special effects on par with those of a high school AV class — sparked a wave of violent protest across Libya, Egypt, Tunisia and later spread to two dozen countries around the world.
The U.S. backlash that erupted possibly led to to the killing of U.S. ambassador J. Christopher Stevens along with approximately two dozen others in the last week. The death toll continues to rise. Today the New York Times reported that Pakistan's leading television station reported as many as 19 people were killed in cities across the country on Friday in a day of state-sanctioned protests.
The White House asked YouTube and Google to review the film's footage to make sure it fell within the company's terms of service.
Credit: YouTube screen grab