Robot 6

Frightened ‘Innocence of Muslims’ actress reaches out to Neil Gaiman

Anna Gurji

Even as anti-American protests spread to 20 countries in North Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, details about “Innocence of Muslims” and what role the controversial video may have played in sparking the violence have been difficult to come by. In the hours after the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S. embassy in Cairo, Egypt, and the consulate in Benghazi, Libya (in which the ambassador and three other Americans were killed), no one seemed to know who the pseudonymous producer of the anti-Muslim video was, or where he was from.

Soon, however, several actors involved in the film began to step forward to say they were duped by the producer, who cast them for a project called Desert Warriors that did not contain a Prophet Muhammad character, but rather a man named George; it was also dubbed with new dialogue. Among the cast members is Anna Gurji, an actress who wrote to Neil Gaiman — they had met during a read-through of Blood Kiss, in which he has a small role — saying, “I feel shattered.”

“It’s painful to see how our faces were used to create something so atrocious without us knowing anything about it at all,” she wrote in a letter posted on Gaiman’s website. “It’s painful to see people being offended with the movie that used our faces to deliver lines (it’s obvious the movie was dubbed) that we were never informed of, it is painful to see people getting killed for this same movie, it is painful to hear people blame us when we did nothing but perform our art in the fictional adventure movie that was about a comet falling into a desert and tribes in ancient Egypt fighting to acquire it, it’s painful to be thought to be someone else when you are a completely different person.”

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, who allegedly produced the film under the name “Sam Bacile,” was questioned by federal authorities over the weekend, and is now in hiding with his family. Federal probation officials are reviewing whether Nakoula, who was convicted of bank fraud, violated the terms of his probation that prohibit him from using a computer.

“Like I explained to Inside Edition, I feel awful … I did not do anything but I feel awful,” Gurji continued. “I feel awful that a human being is capable of such evil. I feel awful about the lies, about the injustice, about the cruelty, about the violence, about the death of innocent people, about the pain of offended people, about the false accusations. I don’t know what else to do but speak the truth. I will not go into hiding (since I have nothing to hide), because if we don’t speak the truth, there is no world worth living for.”

Read Gurji’s entire letter on Gaiman’s website.

 

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9 Comments

That’s sad. :(

Clearly those that will act in this savage way will not listen to reason, and this apology/explanation is just a waste of time. Best thing she can do is take a concealed-carry handgun course, and know how to defend herself with lethal force. Hoping that threats towards her, if any made directly, are hollow, then well that’s just too bad.

It woudn’t shock me if this movie was intentionally distributed by the terrorist to rally these protests for cover. Hardly anyone had seen this movie or even heard of it prior to the protests. People had more access to that swedish comic strip some years back that caused an uproar than this video.

You have protests near an embassy and a supposedly secret location for the ambassador? Security leak and timing of the protests just seem a little coincidental. Even if this woman feels betrayed she is not the real reason for what is happening in the middle east.

This is also the second actress I’ve seen come out about this, and while I appreciate their candor, some people might not care they were manipulated.

I hope and pray these actors and actresses are able to stay safe

Good on Neil Gaiman for helping — one of comics greatest writers ever is also just a good human being. Nice to see.

monotheistic religions: breeding fanatics since BC 788

Good for Neil for giving her a voice.

@Curry Crabb: “Clearly those that will act in this savage way will not listen to reason, and this apology/explanation is just a waste of time.”

Only if you believe being a decent person is a waste of time.

I don’t read it as Gurji fearing for her life and trying to get terrorists to leave her alone. I read it as Gurji legitimately regretful that a conman duped her into participating into a hateful project that she wants nothing to do with.

@Lee: “It woudn’t shock me if this movie was intentionally distributed by the terrorist to rally these protests for cover. Hardly anyone had seen this movie or even heard of it prior to the protests.”

Even if it seems a little conspiracy theory-ish, yeah, the thought has crossed my mind too.

That said, while I certainly believe the terrorists chose to use this video as a pretext for already-planned attacks on the anniversary of 9/11, there’s not really any conspiracy necessary. All they had to do was find something on the Internet to whip up outrage over.

In Libya, at least, it appears to have backfired; Stevens was popular and the public there seems very upset about his death. But we’re seeing rioting in the streets in multiple nations.

The video itself wasn’t produced by someone from another faith. Never said extremist Muslims made it

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