Anti-Islamic Filmmaker Stands By Video, Despite Protests and Killings

Glass, debris and overturned furniture are strewn inside a room in the gutted U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. The American ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were killed when a mob of protesters and gunmen overwhelmed the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, setting fire to it in outrage over a film that ridicules Islam's Prophet Muhammad. Ambassador Chris Stevens, 52, died as he and a group of embassy employees went to the consulate to try to evacuate staff as a crowd of hundreds attacked the consulate Tuesday evening, many of them firing machine-guns and rocket-propelled grenades.   (National Journal)

The California resident behind an anti-Islamic film that sparked violent protests in Egypt and Libya, which in turn lead to the death of four U.S. diplomats, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, remained defiant on Wednesday and stood behind his work, the Associated Press reports.

Sam Bacile, reportedly a 56-year-old Israeli, said he believes that "Islam is a cancer." He financed the two-hour movie with help from more than 100 Jewish donors, spending roughly $5 million, the AP reported.

"This is a political movie," Bacile told the AP. "The U.S. lost a lot of money and a lot of people in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but we're fighting with ideas."

There is, however, doubt about the identity of the filmmaker. Steve Klein, a reported consultant on the film, told The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg that Sam Bacile is a pseudonym and that Bacile is not actually Israeli.

After hearing rumors that the video was a Hollywood blockbuster that would be shown throughout the U.S., protests broke out, leading to the death of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other embassy staff.

President Obama said on Wednesday that, "the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others."

The film's almost 14-minute trailer, which is still on YouTube, shows people acting as violent Muslims, taking their aggression out on Christians and women. The actors, who are predominantly white, are covered in dark makeup and use thick accents. The film also depicts the prophet Mohammad, who is subject to several slurs.

Afghanistan banned YouTube on Wednesday, to prevent its citizens from watching the controversial film, Reuters reports.

"We have been told to shut down YouTube to the Afghan public until the video is taken down," Aimal Marjan, general director of Information Technology, told Reuters.