Monday, September 17, 2012

When an Artist Is Used

I'm sure by now everyone's heard about the anti-Islamic video posted on YouTube. I'm sure everyone's heard about the murder of the American ambassdor to Libya, Chris Stevens, and three other Americans. I'm sure you've heard about the violent protests all over the world. I'm sure you've heard about the Americans who think their right to freedom of speech outweighs any other person's rights.

I'm not going to link to the actual video because frankly I think it's obscene. Why? Because the producer of the video, Sam Bassil, decided to trick members of the cast and crew into making what they thought was an action-adventure indie film set in ancient Egypt.

As someone who earns money as an artist, I'm disgusted that someone felt the need to manipulate folks just trying to earn a living doing what they love.

There are several other problems that stick in my craw. One of which is new Arabic dialogue being dubbed. Dialogue that has nothing to do with the translation of the lines actually spoken by the actors. Then there's the intentions of the producer. Why not be honest with the actors about the real storyline the producer wanted to present? There's plenty of folks who share Bassil's views and would have jumped on the chance to make this video. Why trick people into making a film he had no intention of releasing as it was presented to the cast and crew? Then there is the producer who's mysteriously disappeared. Frankly, no one's even sure if Sam Bassil is this guy's real name.

UPDATE: The suspected producer of the anti-Islamic video Nakoula Besseley Nakoula was taken into custody by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office on Saturday morning. Nakoula was convicted of bank fraud in 2009. If he uploaded the video, he may have violated the terms of his parole, which prohibits the use of computers and the Internet without his parole officer's approval.

Now the cast and crew are having to deal with the fall-out with this chopped up bit of political propaganda. What I don't think the idiots who constructed this piece of crap counted on was any of the actors having connections.

One of the supporting actresses, Anna Gurji, is friends with writer/actor Neil Gaiman. Neil has posted a letter from Anna about the situation with Anna's permission. Read it for yourself. What would you do if you were in Anna's place?

But most of all, I encourage you to think for youself. And always, ALWAYS do a background check on anybody who hires you.

NOTE: I'm not getting into a debate over religion or the First Amendment. This is the first, and hopefully only, time I moderate this blog. Any comments not on the actual issue at hand will be deleted.


  1. Thank you, Suzan. I was about to post Anna Gurji's letter to Neil Gaiman when I saw you had already done so.

    This is nothing but fakery, nonsense, and bull/horse. But, Dear God, look at the damage that's been done.

  2. I think you should post Anna's letter anyway, Will.

    This is a woman who left her native Georgia (the country, not the state) in order to pursue her craft. She worked hard on learning English and losing her accent. Excited to land a part in a movie, she performed the role to the best of her ability.

    Only to find out when it's been released to the public, it's been twisted to suit someone's agenda of bull cookies. Not only that, but people are dying because her art was twisted. I'd be crying too if I were in her place.