A California insurance agent and Vietnam War veteran is the public face for the anti-Muslim film inflaming the Middle East, several news sources are reporting.
Film promoter and insurance agent Steve Klien, who ran in 2002 for insurance commissioner, is the spokesman for the Coptic Christian filmmaker Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, who is in hiding.
Klein has given several interviews about the film and the man he says he knew only as Sam Bacile, and is using the attention to talk about his own political views, which include a hatred of radical Muslims, according to Huffington Post.
Nakoula contacted Klein months ago and asked for help vetting the movie’s script, Klein said in an interview with The Associated Press. The filmmaker asked the 61-year-old grandfather if he would act as a spokesman if the film “caught on,” and he agreed, Huffington Post reported.
Klein works with his wife as an insurance agent in Hemet, several miles east of Los Angeles, under Wise Home Insurance Services. A website for the company is blank except for a simple statement: “wise home insurance will be back online soon.”
In 2002 Klein ran as an American Independent Party candidate for state insurance commissioner, garnering 2 percent of the vote. That was the year Democrat John Garamendi defeated Republican candidate Gary Mendoza.
According to an election website, Klein was born in Compton in 1951, is married and has two children.