A person who identified himself as a crew member who worked on the anti-Islam movie that apparently sparked attacks on U.S. missions in Egypt and Libya said he and the rest of the cast and crew were misled about the purpose of the film.
“We just want this to go away,” said the person who contacted The Times by email Wednesday. He said he did not want to be identified because he feared his life was in danger. “We feel extremely taken advantage of and fear for our safety.”
“Innocence of Muslims,” portions of which first appeared on YouTube two months ago, has inspired violence, including the murder Tuesday of the U.S. ambassador in Libya, for its depiction of Muhammad as a bloodthirsty womanizer and child abuser.
The purported crew member who communicated with The Times said he and the rest of the cast and crew, some of whom were recruited on Craigslist, were told they were making a war drama called “Desert Warrior.”
In a prepared statement, the person also said, “The entire cast and crew are extremely upset and feel taken advantage of by the producer. We are 100% not behind this film and were grossly misled about its intent and purpose. We are shocked by the drastic rewrites of the script and lies that were told to all involved. We are deeply saddened by the tragedies that have occurred.”
In his email interview with The Times, he said that key words in the film -- ones that make specific attacks against Islam - -were not spoken by the actors during filming, but were re-recorded in postproduction. “The original actors said one word, and then the producer and editing team (whom I don’t know) dubbed,” he said. “It’s unmistakable that most dubbed portions are a different voice than the original actor. “
The alleged crew member said he was on set -- the location of which he declined to divulge -- for five days. Several representatives for local film commissions said they had no record of “Desert Warrior” filming in their regions.
He said that he and the rest of the crew first learned how their work was being used on Tuesday, when portions of the movie started attracting attention online.
The film appears to be an amateur endeavor made by a filmmaker who is probably working under a pseudonym.
The person who contacted The Times declined to discuss the identity of the filmmaker.
The clip was first posted on YouTube July 2 by a man who identified himself as Sam Bacile. On Wednesday, the Associated Press quoted a man by that name claiming he was an Israeli real estate developer in California who made the two-hour film for $5 million.
Bacile’s name does not appear in several public and private databases. The man behind the movie reportedly went into hiding after U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed in a Tuesday night attack on theconsulate in Benghazi, Libya.