New York: India-born author Salman Rushdie has termed as "malicious" the attempt by an American to produce a film, deemed offensive to Islam, that sparked protests across the globe, saying the filmmaker tried to "provoke" people.
65-year-old Rushdie, who has been an advocate of free speech and defending it in the face of opposition, said the intentions of the film are very different from what he has written in his books.
"I think he (the filmmaker) has done something malicious, and that is a very different thing from writing a serious novel. He is clearly set out to provoke, and he is obviously unleashed a much bigger reaction than he hoped for," Rushdie told the Today show ahead of the release of his memoir.
"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," Rushdie told the Today show.
Commenting on the surge of violence against the film that has gripped countries across the world, particularly in the Middle East, Rushdie said he does not have any sympathy for the filmmaker "because he did it on purpose. He set out to create a response, and he got it in spades."
The film sparked violent protests in Libya, Egypt and Tunisia and elsewhere. Several people have been killed in the protests, including America`s envoy to Libya.
Rushdie`s 633-page memoir titled `Joseph Anton`, which gives an account of the decade he spent in hiding in the wake of the Iranian `fatwa` against him for his book `The Satanic Verses`, hit the stands today.