Firing of Yousef
On November 8th, 2006, a scandal broke out in the LG15 universe as rumors spread that Yousef Abu-Taleb, the actor who plays Daniel, had been fired. Over the course of two days these rumors were largely dispelled by notes from the Creators and Yousef, but questions remain as to why this scandal developed in the first place.
Source of rumor
Yousef's own myspace page said that he was no longer part of lg15 series.
Yousef's initial myspace note said:
Wednesday, November 08, 2006 not on lonelygirl15 any more So yeah, today was an extremely shitty day for me. Basically to sum it up, because I dont want to get into the specific's I was told that I will not really be part of the LG thing anymore. That sucks. So I will be looking for another job in the resturant business. Thats what I was told, to start looking for another job today. It sucks to think that now I'm not a good enough actor to be on a show I was cast for, but hey, it is what it is. So I want to say to all of my new friends that it was a pleasure being able to talk with as many of you as I could. I will truly cherrish that in my heart. The breif time that I had was wonderful. I will still aspire to be a successful actor, looks like I've just hit a speed bump. Take care everyone, and good luck Jess, you were the best and I cant thank you enough for being in my corner. I cant thank you enough for the wonderful expeirence it was to work with you. Knock'em dead
"Fired", killed off, or what?
The text above does not outright say that Yousef was "fired". Fans speculated that Daniel was going to be killed off in an upcoming episode, resulting in him no longer being needed for the series. These concerns were reignited by the Jonas? video, in which Daniel says he is going to leave Bree and go home.
Below is an account of what happened in the Allen Smithee affair.
According to Wikipedia:
"Alan Smithee, Allen Smithee, Alan Smythee, and Adam Smithee are pseudonyms used between 1968 and 1999 by Hollywood film directors who wanted to be dissociated from a film for which they no longer wanted credit. It was used when the director could prove to the satisfaction of a panel of members of the Directors Guild of America (DGA) and Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers that the film had been wrestled from his or her creative control. The director is also required to keep the reason for the disavowal a secret. The pseudonym cannot be used to hide a director's failures."
Following a post on the MySpace of Yousef Abu-Taleb stating that he was being removed from the Lonelygirl15 project someone re-directed LG links for Yousef to Allen Smithee. When asked why, the following response was obtained:
Due to reasons that are best not discussed, the Actor that plays the role of Daniel, along with the United Arab Emirates Actor’s Guild, feel that his name should be removed from this project and have opted for this proxy instead. UAE Actor's Guild. --18.104.22.168 00:05, 9 November 2006 (PST)
The IP Address of this poster, 22.214.171.124, tracks back to:
netname: EMIRNET-EMIRNET descr: Emirates Internet descr: Public Internet Service descr: Emirates Telecommunications Corporation descr: P.O. Box 1150, Dubai, UAE
Later in the morning, other users of LGPedia changed it back to its original format and re-directed comments on the Allen Smithee affair to this page.
No evidence outside of LGPedia exists to confirm that the UAEAG exists. The UAE (United Arab Emirates) is a small country, and is not known for its nascent film industry.
After the Creators indicated that they were running out of cash, paypal links was placed on the comments page of Lonelygirl15.com. This has led many to conclude that the conflict with Yousef involved money, but it is possible that money only contributed indirectly to the tensions that precipitated the incident. Fans have speculated that Yousef may have misunderstood a message telling him to look for another source of income.
Statement from the Creators
The Creators Says: November 9th, 2006 at 2:09 pm Dear Fans, Tensions have been high in the Lonelygirl15 world. We would like to clarify a few things that have recently come up. First off, Yousef Abu-Taleb is NOT being fired from the show. The character of Daniel is still very much a part of Lonelygirl15. Secondly, we have NOT “gone corporate.” To the contrary, we are almost completely out of money. We are still financing Lonelygirl15 out of personal savings and maxed out credit cards. The little money that we do have goes to pay for the actors and the few items needed to film the videos (P. Monkey eats a lot of bananas). Why are we still doing this? For you. We care as much about this show and this new medium as you do, and we are doing our best to keep it going. You might see some banner ads and Google AdSense popping up. We’re gonna make some T-Shirts. We’ll also be producing some DVD’s. All we want to do is create a FANTASTIC show to entertain you. Thank you for watching! Miles, Mesh, Greg, Amanda, Vanessa, Jessica, Yousef, Jackie, Kevin
MySpace Bulletins From Yousef on 11/10/06
I also want to say that I feel that you the fans of lonelygirl15 deserve to see a conclusion to our story that we have worked so hard to produce. Daniel will not be leaving, and I would never quit doing this show that I have come to truly love being a part of. I am very passionate and devoted to this project and the character that I have worked to produce. I truly have felt blessed to have had a chance to work on the show.
Hey guys, sorry that post was a little confusing. I am not a "PR" person. I just kind of speak from the heart. Anyway, it's pretty simple what happened. There has been a lot of tension on the set for a whole lot of reasons and we got into a fight about some stuff. Overall it was a really horrible day and I felt like crap. I am not leaving the show and I am not being fired, Daniel will continue on. Also, the show is DEFINITELY not ending, we really want to do this thing "forever." Yeah, money is tight, but I'm sure we will figure it out, we always have through this entire thing. I love all you guys, the fans are what make it worthwhile for me! Thanks, talk to you all later.
Fans dissatisfied with the sparse explanations offered for this scandal have suggested a few possible explanations:
- Yousef simply misunderstood the Creators when told to look for alternative means of income.
- Yousef did understand the Creators when told to look for alternative means of income and was not willing to continue working for LG15 for free. But, he reversed his decision following the overwhelming fan support for keeping his character on.
- The production team waffled on their decision to remove Yousef (for financial reasons) because of the overwhelming, negative response from fans.
- The entire incident was a hoax to either gauge public opinion of Yousef or to generate buzz about the series.