While YouTube says it encourages free speech and defends even unpopular points of view, it does not allow “hate speech” that “attacks or demeans a group based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status and sexual orientation/gender identity.”
The video — if you can stand to sit through its inane banter and weird sex scenes for the 14 minutes its trailer lasts — has already been seen by almost three million people and climbing — and YouTube has added a disclaimer that warns its content is offensive before you go all the way through. And even if the White House ends up getting it banned, hundreds of other YouTube users have already shared it:
The protests related to the video, made by Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, have focused on diplomatic posts around the world. On Friday, embassies were fortified around the world following the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya, where Ambassador Christopher Stevens was slain along with three other Americans.
Police are on alert after the demonstrations rocked Egypt and Yemen, while protests are also erupting in Iraq, Iran and the Gaza Strip — all upset over a 14-minute YouTube trailer that may or may not remain online over the weekend.
But what about the guy who directed this film that’s inciting all this violence? Just who is Nakoula — or Sam Bacile, as he likes to call himself on YouTube?
1. He’s on Probation for Bank Fraud and Not Allowed Online
Nakoula is on probation following a conviction for bank fraud, after kiting checks and then taking money out of ATMs — and he’s not even allowed to be online without court permission. His bank fraud involved using computers, and he was banned in 2010 from being online — and yes, that includes posting anti-Muslim films on YouTube, even if he doesn’t use his real name.
And if he’s found guilty of violating his probation by using a computer — and really, now, how can he not be? — he could go back to prison to serve his 21-month sentence. He’d better hope his cellmate isn’t Muslim.
2. He Knows How to Cook Meth
The bank fraudster has also gone behind bars for cooking up some methamphetamines, reports The Daily News. The case happened back in 1997, showing he’s got a criminal record stretching back decades, even if he’s not a bad-ass like Walt on “Breaking Bad.”
3. He’s a Government Snitch
When Nakoula, now 55, was arrested back in June 2009 for his role in the check-kiting ring, he was denied bail because the government thought he’d be a flight risk. So instead of going to jail, he sang like a canary, reports The Smoking Gun. He turned in the guy who headed the operation, and got sentenced to 21 months in prison, about a year less than the feds wanted.
4. He’s Got a Lot of Fake Names
U.S. Postal Inspector Eric Shen, making an affidavit about Nakoula’s false accounts at Wells Fargo Bank, which he ripped off for almost $800,000, said Nakoula is a man of many names. They include Thomas Tanas, Ahmed Hamdy, Kritbag Difrat — and two of them bear the surname Bacily — almost the same as Sam Bacile, whose name graces the original YouTube trailer that’s sparked so many riots.
5. He’s a Jailhouse Writer
Nakoula reportedly wrote “The Innocence of Muslims” when he was behind bars. Gotta kill time somehow, right? Those days and nights get mighty boring in prison. After he got out, some Coptic Christian relatives overseas sent him $60,000, and he was in business with his epic.
6. He Knows Pornographers and Isn’t Afraid to Use Them
7. He Says He’s a Egyptian Coptic Christian
The Christian Coptic population has long decried what they call a history of discrimination and occasional violence from the country’s Arab majority.
8. His Neighbor Says He’s a Nice, Quiet Guy
‘I usually talk to the wife, her name is Olivia. They have three kids, [two] in college and one in middle school. All I know is they’re Christian but very nice people.
9. The Film’s Actors Say He Duped Them, Too
Cindy Lee Garcia, an actress from Bakersfield, Calif., who has a small role in the movie as a woman whose young daughter is given to Mohammed to marry, claims all the offensive references were dubbed over the lines they actually read for a movie titled “Desert Warriors.” The movie was originally titled “Desert Warriors.”
10. He’s Not Really a Real Estate Developer, Either
This guy has claimed to be a real estate developer, but turns out he’s lying about that too. His name — or Bacile’s — doesn’t appear in any searches of California’s state licenses, adding another lie to his list of frauds.