Twenty-three years ago, Booker Prize-winning writer Salman Rushdie was forced into hiding when his novel, The Satanic Verses, provoked fervent protests, death threats, and a fatwa from Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran. Now the author is telling the story of his life underground in a new memoir called Joseph Anton – the release of which just happens to come on the heels of Middle Eastern violence inspired by an inflammatory video called Innocence of Muslims.
But Rushdie doesn’t have much sympathy for Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the filmmaker apparently behind Innocence. “He’s done something malicious, and that’s a very different thing from writing a serious novel,” the writer told Today‘s Matt Lauer this morning. “He’s clearly set out to provoke, and he’s obviously unleashed a much bigger reaction than he hoped for. I mean, one of the problems with defending free speech is you often have to defend people that you find to be outrageous and unpleasant and disgusting.”