A man who says he was behind the private film sparking demonstrations in the Muslim world is criticizing the protesters.
In an interview with U.S.-government-funded Radio Sawa, the alleged director of the film says his fellow Arabs “have to learn demonstrate peacefully against the issues on which we disagree.” He says any allegation the United States government was involved in the making of the movie is “funny and ridiculous” and that “America has nothing to do with the film.”
Radio Sawa says the man refused to confirm his identity but that a source who provided the contact information identified him as Nakoula Basseley Nakoula.
Several news organizations have linked the inflammatory film, titled “The Innocence of Muslims,” to Nakoula, 55, an Egyptian Coptic Christian who lives in California and recently served a prison sentence for bank fraud.
Initially, the film was said to have been produced by a man named Sam Bacile, who told news media he is Israeli-American. A consultant on the film confirmed the name “Sam Bacile” was a pseudonym. There is no record of the film or its producer in Hollywood reference sources.
The man believed to be Nakoula tells Radio Sawa he did not expect the film would cause such strong reactions from the Arab and Muslim world, saying the film’s other producers “put my mind at ease.” But he also says all the film’s advisers were “foreigners who do not know anything about Arabs and have never visited Arab countries.”
During a protest over the film outside the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, Tuesday, armed militants killed U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other U.S. staff members.
Nakoula says he is saddened by the deaths but that he does not regret making the film. He also rejected allegations made by some of the actors and crew members that they were tricked into making the movie.
When asked if he misled the actors and crew, he said “This is a producer’s right. He can put what he wants in the film without consulting the actors… my answer to them is that they do not belong to a professional association.”