EXCLUSIVE: There was a lot of noise surrounding the red state-beloved, $163M-grossing summer surprise hit, Sound of Freedom, this morning with Newsweek reporting that one of the pic’s 6,678 crowdfunders was arrested for child kidnapping by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police.
Now just to be clear, we’re talking one person who contributed an unidentified amount of money to the $5M P&A crowdfunding campaign put together by Angel Studios. The person charged, 51-year-old Fabian Marta of Chesterfield, Missouri on July 23, was not a financier of the actual feature production. Deadline confirmed the arrest with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police per Case # 2322-CR01608.
Note child kidnapping and sex trafficking, the latter subject which Sound of Freedom focuses on (via the story of former Homeland Security agent Tim Ballard, who took rescuing abducted children into his own hands), are two different types of crimes.
Angel Studios has no knowledge of the background of its crowdfunders, just like IBM or any other publicly traded company doesn’t have any idea of who their minor shareholders are. The Newsweek article reported that Marta took to Facebook to post their excitement about crowdfunding Sound of Freedom, posts which have since been removed.
Neal Harmon, CEO of Angel Studios, said in a statement today, “Angel Studios adhered to the requirements of federal and state laws and regulations in allowing 6,678 people to invest an average of $501 each into the launch of Sound of Freedom. Just as anyone can invest in the stock market, everyone who meets the legal criteria can invest in Angel Studios projects. One of the perks of investing was the ability to be listed in the credits.”
Those credits as seen in the social media post below, reveals Fabian Marta and Family as one of several contributors to the Jim Caviezel thriller.
Harmon added in his statement today, “We’re grateful to brave law enforcement officials who have already arrested dozens of traffickers in the weeks following Sound of Freedom’s release. Our film speaks to this globally-pervasive problem, and it is our hope that perpetrators everywhere will be brought to justice no matter who they are, and that even more people will see the film to raise awareness.”
Deadline reached out to the attorney of Marta, Scott Rosenblum of Rosenblum, Schwartz & Fry, in St. Louis who calls the criminal charges against his client “unfounded.”
“I don’t understand how they’re charging him with this,” Rosenblum told Deadline, “He has nothing to do with kidnapping anyone.”
Marta is a landlord to a woman who was involved in a custody dispute with her aunt. Marta was allegedly providing living arrangements to said woman and her child, the former who is involved in rehabbing the rental property.
Sound of Freedom at 3,001 locations in its fifth week is looking to make $7.1M this weekend, -44%. Angel Studios dynamited their faith-based audience to see the film, however, Sound of Freedom has also been a fave of right wingers who’ve snapped up tickets for audiences to see the film. Deadline reported that former POTUS Donald Trump held a screening of the movie at his Bedminster golf club a few weeks ago.