|September 14, 2012
Early yesterday morning VICE was anonymously furnished with documents that link a California man named Robert Brownell (aka Robert Brown) to the pre-production of Innocence of Muslims, the F-grade anti-Islamic film that has resulted in violent protests at and around US embassies in Sanaa, Yemen; Cairo; Tripoli; and Doha, Qatar. He is a man who has, as of yet, not been named in association with the film.
The documents clearly state that in 2009 and 2011 Robert Brownell purchased pre-production services related to Desert Warrior, which has been widely reported as the working title of the film that the world now knows as Innocence of Muslims.
The documents also include Robert Brownell’s address in Tarzana, California (or at least his address when the purchases were made in 2009; the property is now up for sale), phone number, and “contact information,” which lists yet a different name—Alan Roberts.
If you’ve been following this story closely, you know that Alan Roberts was listed as the film’s original director alongside a man who produced—and some reports suggest ended up directing—the film: Sam Bacile, aka Sam Basselley, aka Nakoula Bassely Nakoula.
Peoplefinders.com lists a 65-year-old man named Robert Alan Brown in North Hollywood, California, as having the aliases Roboert [sic] Brownell and Alan B. Roberts. His “business associations” include Alan Roberts Entertainment. A cross-search on Nexis’s public records database seems to corroborate that Robert Brownell, Robert Brown, and Alan Roberts are all the same person.
Digging around on the person—or persons—named Robert Brownell, you’ll find myriad accounts for him on places like YouTube, GodTube, Jokeroo, and many other religious-themed video-streaming sites. (This video is particularly… interesting.) There’s also divinerevelations.info, a terribly designed website that on first glance appears to be an ode to a funny-looking Chinese Christian pastor named Yong Doo Kim, but if you keep digging you’ll discover that divinerevelations.info corresponds almost identically with a spiritlessons.com, “The Testimony of Robert Brownell,” a goofball account of some guy who was obsessed with porn but eventually found the lord.
After reaching out to crew members who worked on Desert Warrior/Innocence of Muslims, a few agreed to speak to me on background and confirmed that the Robert Brownell responsible for posting all of the pro-Christian videos I linked to above WAS NOT the Robert Brownell associated with the film, but they did confirm that the Robert Brownell in question is in his mid-50s to late-60s with gray hair and glasses.
So for now, exactly who directed this scourge of humanity—and whether or not it had multiple directors and producers—is still unclear, but I have a feeling it won’t be that way for long.