Actress Cindy Lee Garcia failed in her first attempt to take the anti-Islam video “Innocence of Muslims” off YouTube. Garcia contends she was duped into appearing the video, which has sparked violent protests across the Middle East and North Africa. A Los Angeles judge on Thursday ruled that the First Amendment protects Internet companies from liability and thus do not have to remove the video. Garcia’s attorney says she will return to court in three weeks to file an injunction. Angie Crouch reports for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Sept. 20, 2012.
A Los Angeles judge on Thursday denied a woman’s request for a temporary restraining order against YouTube and Google regarding the distribution of a film trailer that has sparked anti-American violence throughout the Muslim world.
Judge Luis Lavin rejected the request from Cindy Lee Garcia, an actress who appears in the clip, in part because the man behind the film was not served with a copy of the lawsuit.
Garcia says she and her family have received death threats and her career damaged since the 14-minute trailer for "Innocence of Muslims" surfaced.
"I will say that the threats were made to me that if I didn't give up all the actors in the film that they were going to kill me," Garcia told reporters. "I was told I had a certain amount of time left to live, and I was asked to kill two people to save my own life."
Garcia says she was duped by the man behind the clip and that neither anti-Muslim content nor the name of Prophet Muhammad were mentioned in the script for the film she thought she was making.
"Yes, we have the right of freedom of speech," Garcia told reporters. "But what he did was wrong."
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the man behind the trailer, has gone into hiding.
The denial of the request comes as the actress is suing Nakoula, who also goes by the name Sam Bacile.
Garcia contends that after the film was uploaded to the Internet on July 2, she received written death threats.
Attorneys for Google argued in court on Thursday that Garcia's case is a breach of contract, at best. They cited the federal Communications Decency Act that says, in part, that operators of Internet services are not to be construed as publishers and are not legally liable for the words of third parties who use their services.
In her lawsuit, Garcia claims the filmmaker misrepresented the intent of the production.
She said she responded to a casting call in "Backstage" magazine for a movie called "Desert Warrior,: a "historical Arabian desert adventure film."
Garcia said she has received threats and has ongoing concerns for her safety after the video sparked violence across the Middle East.
She said that there was no mention of Muhammad during filming or on the set and there were no references to religion or sex.
She said Bacile told her it was an adventure film "about ancient Egyptians."
When it was posted to YouTube on July 2, Garcia said the movie was changed "grotesquely" to make it appear that Garcia voluntarily performed in a "hateful anti-Islamic production," according to the complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday.
In her suit, Garcia also names Google Inc. and YouTube because the film appeared on the Internet.
The lawsuit alleges invasion of privacy, fraud, slander and intentional infliction of emotional distress. A representative for Google, which owns YouTube, did not immediately return an email seeking comment.
Garcia maintains she and other actors were tricked into appearing in the film without knowing its true theme. She says she expects other actors in the film to follow her lead, and file lawsuits, as well.
"Mr. Bacile represented to her that the film was indeed an adventure film about ancient Egyptians," the suit states.
Instead, Garcia found herself involved in a different type of movie altogether and her life in danger, according to the complaint.
"She has been subjected to credible death threats and is in fear of her life and the life and safety of anyone associated with her," the suit states.
Garcia wants a permanent injunction removing the video from YouTube.
Garcia has suffered severe emotional distress, financial setbacks and the "destruction of her career and reputation," according to the complaint.
The film depicts the Muslim Prophet Muhammad as a child abuser and womanizer. The depiction sparked days of violent protests.
Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, was killed along with three other State Department employees Sept. 11 in an attack on the American Consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi by a heavily armed force coinciding with a demonstration. He is believed to have died of smoke inhalation.
An anti-American demonstration also took place Sept. 11 in Cairo, where the U.S. Embassy was breached but did not come under gunfire.