The recently released YouTube video “Innocence of Muslims” has created a firestorm of debate and controversy over the intersection between religious tolerance, hate crimes, and free speech. The video remains on YouTube, and Google (which owns YouTube), has announced that it has no intention of taking down the video. Most recently, a California judge has refused to order the take down of the video, notwithstanding the unique cause of action – breach of privacy.
Cindy Lee Garcia is one of the actors in the YouTube video that was cited as the basis for fatal attacks on US embassies in the Middle East, however she claims that she was duped into believing the movie had an entirely different substance. In short, she claims that her performance and lines were misused and re-dubbed to create the video. Ms. Garcia has suffered damages as a result of her appearance in the film, and in her claim against the director of the film, seeks the immediate removal of the video from YouTube.
Rather than seeking to have the video removed for its anti-religious and inciting content, Ms. Garcia claimed that the content of the video violated her right to privacy, and that it should be taken down on that basis. Ms. Garcia argued that if she did not give informed consent to the use of her likeness, then such content violated her right to privacy, and the removal of the video was necessary to minimize the damages to her.
The California court ruled, however, that Ms. Garcia’s claim against the director of the film was not likely to prevail, and dismissed her claim for an injunctive order to remove the video. Though the content of the video has been denounced by many, including the US government, the closely held right to freedom of speech has thus far allowed the video to remain available to the public (though it has been blocked in Egypt, Libya, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Saudi Arabia). And now, the continued availability of the video has withstood even a privacy rights challenge.
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