The 27-year old porn filmmaker behind the fake rape photos that sparked an international controversy spoke out today on the flap from her office in Budapest, Hungary.
The bogus ‘gang-rape’ photos that were published around the world in newspapers and websites and presented as evidence of U.S. crimes in Iraq or as alleged evidence, were still shots taken from porn movies produced by Andrea Marchand. The movies and still shots appear on the Hungarian website “Sex in War.”
In many cases, the perpetrator of the hoax and its variations has remained unidentified.
The Budapest-based filmmaker has been making graphic movies for the past two years. Marchand produces films for “Buy Film Ready,” a production house that has outlets in Paris, Budapest and Lausanne, Switzerland.
“I heard about this and saw those articles in some newspapers and on the Internet and I really don’t understand how people can use pictures that they don’t have any rights to and without asking me,” said Marchand. “I heard also that a lot of Arabic newspapers published my pictures also and reported that they are true pics.”
The photos were published, and in some cases enlarged, in several prominent Arab newspapers, with no blurring of nudity or shielding of the alleged rape victims’ identities. Following WND’s expose of the fake photos, the U.S. Embassy in Cairo demanded retractions from the newspapers.
Marchand was especially surprised that the Boston Globe repeated the allegations of rape associated with the photos, as WND first reported, and published images of four of her most graphic photos. The Globe also made no attempt to shield the identity of the purported rape victims or blur the nudity, although in the second edition of the May 12 production run, the images, contained in one larger photo, were reduced in size.
The photos were given to the Globe by Boston Councilman Chuck Turner at a press conference where he distributed prints of the alleged ‘rape’ photos, in an attempt to get President Bush to release all known photos of abuse perpetrated by U.S. troops in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Turner told reporters, “We cannot document their authenticity. But you have the ability to do that.”
“Many other journalists also looked at the pictures and dismissed them immediately as fakes,” Marchand said, “So really it was bad judgment on the part of the Globe.”
After the story of alleged rape photos ran in the Globe, similar photos, also from Marchand’s films, were sent to Media Watch, a news program produced by the Australia Broadcasting Corporation. This week, ABC asked WND for help in verifying the photos.
Commenting on the controversy as a whole, Marchand said, “Some people also said that those photos were true pictures and movies [or rape] and I am the person who stole them.”
Indeed, La Voz de Aztlan and Jihad Unspun, two political websites that produce “independent news,” published the rape photos and now are floating conspiracy theories that the porn filmmaker(s) and assorted mercenaries instigated real rape in Iraq in order to gain material to post on porn sites for profit, and to torment the imagined victims. The “news reports” produced by the two sites are carried by many other sites, some registered in the Middle East, which sped the propagation of the hoax.
Bruce Kennedy, writing for Jihad Unspun, mentioned the Globe’s publication of the images, and he used phrases from WND’s exposes of the photos out of context in order to spin an elaborate conspiracy theory that insisted there was no proof the photos were fake. “We call for an immediate full-scale investigation into the Sex in War,” wrote Kennedy, “the alleged creators of these pictures. In fact, considering the controversy surrounding these photos, it is amazing that this ‘legitimate’ business has not come forward with details of the photos in question.”
Kennedy concludes his stories on the “rape” photos with this phrase: “If you have any information, concerning these photographs, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Marchand told WND that at no time has Kennedy or Aztlan made any attempt to contact her or question her about the photos.
Marchand has copious documentation available to be viewed, of the “models,” including signed contracts, and their passport information. None of the models were Iraqi or American.
The suggestion that the photos are real is, of course, ludicrous. While some of the select still shots appear dramatic and disturbing, the videos from which the still shots were taken give ample evidence that all participants were willing and that this was a porn shoot replete with high-school level acting skills and, in one case, a pseudo-disco porn soundtrack.
The only English spoken in the movies is the obligatory, “Oh, yeah.” Two of the films feature “soldiers” speaking phrases in French and German. In addition, the uniforms have no insignia, the “soldiers” wear jungle camouflage and face paint, instead of desert camouflage. The helmets are not authentic, nor are the T-shirts or shoes.
One Internet blogger laughingly pointed out that one soldier’s weapon was a paintball gun, and another one noted the ever-present “porn blanket” that appeared in every scene. One observer commented that the acrobats from Cirque du Soleil would have difficulty figuring out the moves involved in these multiple-partner performance shots.
The films are set in Budapest, not Iraq.
Some of Marchand’s still shots were carried on an American site called Iraq Babes. That site shut down after WND reported on the fake photos. Marchand says that “Even iraqbabes.com stole my content and used it illegally on their website.”
WND could not contact the owner of Iraq Babes for comment since the registrant denied involvement in the website and declined to name the owner .
Marchand said that the accompanying controversy has generated increased interest in the Sex in War site: “It’s now quite hot, and we’ll be producing new material for it.”
In the meantime, as the fake photos continue to circulate, Marchand says her lawyers are examining what has been said and how the photos have been misused.
“I’m examining options at the moment,” the young filmmaker said, “and will not speculate what legal action I will take. We do however expect to receive compensation for the unauthorised use of our pictures and the failure to correctly state the copyright ownership.”