"Despite their efforts to uncover and report on the true identity of the filmmaker responsible for an anti-Islam film that fanned violent protests across the Middle East," the media have not done enough to "put to rest the myth that an 'Israeli Jew' and 100 Jewish investors were behind the film, the ADL said in a statement.
"We are greatly concerned that this false notion that an Israeli Jew and 100 Jewish backers were behind the film now has legs and is gathering speed around the world," ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman said.
"In an age where conspiracy theories, especially ones of an anti-Semitic nature, explode on the Internet in a matter of minutes, it is crucial for those news organizations who initially reported on his identity to correct the record. It is not a question of freedom of speech; it is a question of responsibility. News organizations need to clearly correct the record so that this myth does not morph into another Big Lie blaming and scapegoating Israelis and Jews," Foxman added.
Initial reports indicated the film, "Innocence of Muslims," was written and directed by a man using the pseudonym "Sam Bacile," who was called in media reports a Jewish Israeli filmmaker in California.
A trailer for the film was translated into Arabic and uploaded to YouTube, sparking mass protests at U.S. posts across the Middle East.
"Even after reports later surfaced that the filmmaker was not Israeli or Jewish, news organizations across the Arab world and anti-Semites and anti-Israel activists have continued to describe him as such," Foxman said.
The man behind the film has now been identified as Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a Coptic Christian with a criminal record including the manufacture of methamphetamine.
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