In an interview on CNN, Rushdie talked of his own experience after his novel "The Satanic Verses" was published in 1988. He most recent book, "Joseph Anton: A Memoir," describes his years in hiding from a fatwa by Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini calling for his assassination.
The protests against his novel were "very carefully manufactured," Rushdie said.
"There was no doubt that it was highly controlled," he said. "You know, there were missives sent out from mosques to all sorts of people and they were all identical to make sure everybody was singing from the same song sheet ... making the same attacks on the book in the same words."
He said the response to the film "Innocence of Muslims" isn't about religion but power, that the rage is a "political act."
"And I think certainly, if we look at what's happening now, this is very much a product of the outrage machine," Rushdie said. "Yes, there's this stupid film ... and the correct response to a stupid film on YouTube is to say it's a stupid film on YouTube, and you get on with the rest of your life."
The film, apparently made by Coptic Christians from Egypt living in the United States, was almost unknown until the protests began.