As the mystery surrounding Innocence of Muslims, the film that’s been blamed for protests at U.S. embassies around the world, continues to unfold, a producer for Current TV’s The Young Turks has added another piece to the puzzle. TYT producer Roland Woerner happened to snap a picture of the film’s poster during its super-limited (one day) run at Hollywood’s Vine Theater back in June, long before the film became international news, and host Cenk Uygur provided a translation of the poster, plus some information on a scam phone number on the poster.
The film, produced by a man known alternately as Sam Bacile and Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, has been blamed for the protests that have spread from Egypt and Libya, but the attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others appears to have been planned in advance and opportunistically piggybacked onto the protests. A 14-minute trailer for the film, which mocks and denigrates the Prophet Muhammad, was played on Egyptian TV days before the protests began.
Cast and crew members from the film have since told reporters that they were “grossly misled” by the film’s producers, and Uygur’s translation of the film’s poster, which calls the film “The Innocence of Bn Laden,” supports that theme. The idea seems to have been to attract bin Laden sympathizers, then sandbag them with the insulting film.
“To all Muslims and Arab good news. We will show the movie of the century. The Innocence of bin Laden and will know who is the real terrorist and who killed our women and children,” the poster said, and there was a phone number at the bottom.
Cenk and his producer called the number, which ended up charging them $122.95 for the privilege of leaving a comment about the movie.
According to L.A. Weekly, the film only screened on June 30, and attracted an audience of around ten people. Given the low turnout and the clumsiness of the telephone scam come-on, it’s possible that the film made most of its money from Cenk and Roland’s test call.
It’s strange that something Woerner probably took a picture of just as a weird local curiosity would go on to become international news several months later, but it’s on of those things that happens sometimes. A few years ago, I interviewed one of the many colorful characters who make becostumed noise outside the White House, and she went on to make news by being hauled out of the Capitol for interrupting the reading of the US Constitution on the floor of the House of Representatives at the start of the last Congress. The lesson here, an easy one to follow in the digital age, is never throw anything away.
Here’s the clip, from Current TV’s The Young Turks:
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