Deputies called to Cerritos home of alleged anti-Muslim filmmaker
This post has been updated. See note below.
Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies were called Wednesday night to the Cerritos home of the purported filmmaker behind the anti-Muslim film that has sparked unrest in the Middle East after reports of a large contingent of news media gathered outside.
Authorities said they sent deputies, who spoke to the homeowner, who complained about a disturbance in the neighborhood, said sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore.
The filmmaker has not been named or identified, but a man using the pseudonym Sam Bacile took credit for writing and directing "Innocence of Muslims" in interviews with the Associated Press and Wall Street Journal. Bacile described himself as a real estate developer, who received $5 million in funding for the project from Jewish donors.
The Associated Press tracked the phone number of the caller to Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, who denied being the filmmaker, but acknowledged being the manager of the company that produced the film. The AP later reported that an unidentified law enforcement source confirmed Nakoula is the film's director.
On Thursday morning, no one answered the door at Nakoula's house in a quiet, well-heeled neighborhood in Cerritos. Three vehicles were parked in front, one in the driveway and two in the middle of the street, apparently parked in haste, one with bags of groceries in the back.
Bob Braun, 89, who lives across the cul-de-sac from the home, said he did not know much about the family but they had lived there for several years. He recalled seeing a tall man who often wore robes and said there had been small children there. At one point, the family had a basketball hoop and trampoline in front of the house.
A man who answered the door at the Cerritos home Wednesday afternoon said he rents from Nakoula, but said, "I don't think he has money for a movie."
Steve Klein, a Hemet insurance agent and anti-Muslim activist, said he has been in touch with the film's producer since the deadly attack at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi that killed U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
"He's absolutely terrified because they'll kill him if they find him," Klein said, referring to Muslims who might seek revenge because they are angry at the depiction of the prophet Muhammad in the film.
[Update, 1:54 p.m. Sept. 13: An earlier version of this post spelled the filmmaker's pseudonym as Sam Basile. The Times has been reporting it as Sam Bacile, although he has used multiple spellings of the name.]
-- Abby Sewell, Andrew Blankstein and Robert Faturechi