Who is Sam Bacile?

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Sept. 12 2012 4:46 PM

Who is Sam Bacile?

Early this morning I pointed readers to the epic-length trailer for "Innocence of Muslims," the only one readily available online. It was a mistake to post that and move on. The backstory behind this movie -- which, at the very least, was the pretense for an anti-American protest in Egypt -- is F for Fake-weird.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel, a former Slate politics reporter, is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

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The director doesn't exist. "Sam Bacile," the name used by someone who described the making of the movie to AP and WSJ reporters this week, is a psuedonym. Steve Klein, who's been talking on behalf of Bacile, says the director "is a man in his 50s and a 'Christian.'" Klein reiterates to Jeffrey Goldberg that Bacile is "not Jewish." But less than 24 hours ago, Bacile was calling himself an "Israeli Jew." As false flag attacks go, that's pretty lumpen and bigoted.

The actors didn't know what they were making. Sarah Abdurrahman noticed this first -- most of the dialogue that deals with Islam or religion in general is overdubbed. A few hours after Abdurrahman's story ran, cast members released a joint statement denouncing the movie they'd become part of.

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 re-writes of the script and lies that were told to all involved. We are deeply saddened by the tragedies that have occurred.

Seriously, everything about this movie is a lie. Before he went underground, Bacile claimed that the budget -- from "Israeli donors" -- came to $5 million. None of that money shows up onscreen, which leads me to think that it was yet another Arab-baiting lie. Entertainment Weekly, digging deep, finds that it was screened briefly in L.A.'s Vine theater, one copy dropped off by the mysterious "Sam."

Let's step back a few paces. How pathetic is it that a production this dingy and low-rate got into the Arab media? The Danish cartoonists put their art and their names out there. The maker of "Innocence of Muslims" lied to get a bunch of struggling actors onscreen, made up a new script, then put some scenes on the Internet.

UPDATE: Adrien Chen talks to one of the film's actresses, who thought she was playing a bit part in a movie about Egypt, called Desert Warriors.

David Weigel, a former Slate politics reporter, is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

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