YouTube has blocked a controversial American anti-Islam video in Egypt and Libya. The (badly produced) movie trailer, Innocence of Muslims, sparked angry riots in Libya and Egypt (Update: and now in Yemen, as well), that resulted in the storming of the American Embassy in Cairo and the death of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three State Department employees, including an IT employee who was a well-known gaming personality. According to YouTube, the video will be "temporarily" unavailable in the two North African countries.
Earlier today, YouTube gave Fast Company a general statement reiterating its policies with regard to video content, but in a statement given to the Associated Press, YouTube said that "We work hard to create a community everyone can enjoy and which also enables people to express different opinions [...] This can be a challenge because what's OK in one country can be offensive elsewhere. This video--which is widely available on the web--is clearly within our guidelines and so will stay on YouTube. However, given the very difficult situation in Libya and Egypt we have temporarily restricted access in both countries. Our hearts are with the families of the people murdered in yesterday's attack in Libya."
As of press time, copies of Innocence of Muslims are widely available on YouTube in the United States.
The identity of the filmmaker, allegedly Israeli-American real estate developer Sam Bacile, is under widespread doubt. The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg discovered earlier today that Sam Bacile is a pseudonym for a non-Israeli filmmaker with relatives in Egypt whose business partner, Steve Klein, "doubt[s] he's Jewish." More importantly, the video is of a movie that may not even exist, with anti-Muslim statements dubbed over the voices of actors from what appear to be a B-movie.
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