The man who produced the anti-Islamic film—or trailer, at least—that set off the deadly violence in Libya and Egypt is identified as "Sam Bacile" in news accounts, but now it appears that no such person exists. A consultant on the film named Steve Klein tells Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic that Sam Bacile is a pseudonym. "I don't know that much about him," says Klein. "I met him, I spoke to him for an hour. He's not Israeli, no. I can tell you this for sure, the State of Israel is not involved, Terry Jones is not involved. His name is a pseudonym."
Earlier, Sarah Posner at Religion Dispatches raised questions about Bacile's identity by rounding up contradictions in his supposed history in newspaper interviews. He is sometimes described as an Israeli Jew in his 50s who works as a real estate developer in California, but neither Israel nor California seems to know of him. So who is he? Klein says about 15 people worked on the film, all American citizens who oppose Islam and hail from nations such as Syria, Turkey, and Pakistan. "All these Middle Eastern folks I work with have pseudonyms," he says. Adrien Chen at Gawker thinks only one thing is certain: "He's a terrible filmmaker." (Read more Sam Bacile stories.)