"Innocence of Muslims" Actress Says She Forgives Filmmaker
(NEW YORK) -- An actress who starred in the anti-Muslim film Innocence of Muslims said on ABC's The View Wednesday that she forgives filmmaker Nakoula Basseley Nakoula for allegedly duping her into participating in the film -- but she still plans to sue him.
"Of course I forgive him because God demands us to forgive," said Cindy Lee Garcia, in her first television interview since the release of the film sparked deadly protests around the globe. "God will judge him."
But her attorney, who also appeared on The View, said he was suing the filmmaker for "putting words in [Garcia's] mouth."
The movie, which portrayed the prophet Muhammad as a fraud and a pedophile, sparked protests by angry Muslims around the world earlier this month after a 14-minute clip of the film was uploaded to YouTube and picked up by satellite television. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed during a protest sparked by the film in Benghazi, Libya.
Garcia said she had been told that Nakoula's name was Sam Bacile, and believed she was playing a role in an action movie called Desert Warriors. She was paid $500 for her part.
Garcia claimed that after the film was shot, the original dialogue was overdubbed to include criticism of Islam and Mohammed that had not appeared in the script.
"Sam Bacile as I knew him, the producer and writer, let us know he was so happy he wrote the film," she said Wednesday. "He was constantly asking us how [we] liked it. It was fun. Never once was Muhammad or Muslim mentioned. I never had any inkling that was what was going on."
"After I saw everything on the news I called him and said, 'Why did you do this to us?'" recounted Garcia. "He said, 'Tell the world you're innocent,' that he did this, that he was tired of radical Muslims killing innocent people and that he was from Israel. [Now] I don't believe anything he said."
Nakoula is actually an Egyptian-American and a Coptic Christian, and has convictions for fraud and drug manufacturing.
After the film clip was picked up by satellite television in the Middle East, Garcia and her castmates received death threats from angry Muslims.
"I'm coming out publicly because I don't want the Muslim world to think America is behind this, that I am behind this," she said.
Though Garcia now says she forgives Nakoula, earlier she had told ABC News that she was "hurt and really angry" with the makers of the film for allegedly lying to her and the cast.
Garcia noted that she is the pastor of a church and has reached out to Muslims to clarify that she had no idea the film was going to be offensive to another religion.
Garcia's attorney, Cris Armenta, also appeared on the show to explain why Garcia is suing the filmmaker and YouTube. Garcia decided to take legal action to have the clip removed from the Internet because it violates her rights, Armenta said.
"It's been said that it's about First Amendment rights, but there is the First Amendment right to say what you think and also the First Amendment right to not say what you don't believe, and someone put words in her mouth to make her look like a religious bigot, and she's not," Armenta said. "We believe we're going to be successful at that."
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