Second actor sues Google over 'Innocence of Muslims' movie trailer

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 15, 2014 2:35 PM

By Andrew Chung

(Reuters) - A second actor has sued Google Inc over a movie trailer called "Innocence of Muslims" that mocked the Prophet Mohammad and led to riots in 2012, six months after a U.S. appeals court ruled for another actor and ordered the film taken off YouTube.

Gaylord Flynn said he has received death threats and fears for his life while Google continues to provide its users with access to the film through pirated content websites known as torrent sites, according to his lawsuit, filed on Friday in a California federal court.

Flynn, who is also suing the filmmaker, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, said Google had refused to block access to the movie, even though a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel last February ordered it taken off Google's video-sharing website, YouTube.

In that case, actor Cindy Lee Garcia sued Google for an injunction, claiming she owned the copyright of her performance. Garcia also said she received death threats.

Google argued at the time that an injunction amounted to restricting speech in violation of the U.S. Constitution. The company is demanding a rehearing from the full appeals court.

A representative from Google could not immediately be reached for comment. Flynn's lawyer, Cris Armenta, who also represented Garcia, could not immediately be reached for comment.

"Innocence of Muslims," which depicts Mohammad as a sexual deviant and a fool, sparked waves of anti-U.S. unrest in Egypt, Libya and other countries in 2012, and coincided with an attack on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi that killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya.

Flynn said the filmmaker concealed the true nature of his production. He said he thought he was hired for a movie called "Desert Warrior" and never consented to be in a "religiously oriented film nor in one that propagates hate speech."

Flynn, like Garcia, said he did not sign a release and his own copyright interests remain intact, according to the complaint.

The case is Gaylord Flynn v. Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, Google Inc et al, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, No. 14-01901.

(Reporting By Andrew Chung; Editing by Ted Botha and Grant McCool)