Released on the July 4 to acclaim from conservative audiences and critics, Sound of Freedom has been a box-office bash, pulling in over $150 million thanks in part to a pay-it-forward ticket promotion, as well as churches and other groups buying up blocks of seats for their members. Even while anti-trafficking groups condemned the film’s distorted depiction of child sex trafficking, fans claimed it was raising awareness of a serious issue — and it has found strong support among QAnon adherents who believe in the existence of a pedophile cabal that drinks the blood of abducted youths.

But now that a Missouri man who donated money toward the film’s promotion has been charged with kidnapping a child, those same Sound of Freedom supporters suddenly appear more concerned with the movie’s reputation than the welfare of the possible victim.

Fabian Marta, 51, was arrested on July 21 in St. Louis, Missouri, for the alleged abduction of a non-relative child under the age of 14, a class A felony. His attorney, Scott Rosenblum, tells Rolling Stone that he plans to plead not guilty. Rosenblum adds that he is “baffled” by the state’s case against Marta. “It’s very hard for me to connect the dots, and I don’t really know how they’re proceeding,” he says, nevertheless holding out optimism that they’ll attack the charge “fairly easily.”

What Marta has been charged with is the kind of offense repeatedly carried out by the villains in Sound of Freedom, and it’s the kind of news that the film’s most zealous audiences have pointed to as justification for a moral panic about trafficking. However, Marta is one of their own: around the time Sound of Freedom premiered, Marta was reportedly bragging on Facebook about how he had helped bring it to theaters.

“The Sound of Freedom movie tackles a very tough subject,” he allegedly wrote on his page, according to screenshots shared on Twitter by anti-disinformation activist Jim Stewartson. In his post, Marta described an “extraordinary effort” to bring the film to the public. “I’m proud to have been a small part of it,” he continued. “If you see the movie look for ‘Fabian Marta and Family’ at the very end of the credits.” In a follow-up comment, Marta claimed that “Disney attempted to bury this movie,” necessitating public investment for distribution, and called himself a “financial partner” in the production. (These comments do not currently appear on Marta’s Facebook account and could not be independently verified. Rosenblum said he could not speak to Marta’s connection to the film.)

This account of Sound of Freedom‘s financing is somewhat misleading: the movie was completed in 2018 under a Latin American subsidiary of 21st Century Fox, which was then being taken over by Disney. With that merger completed, the distributor dropped the project (apparently without Disney’s direction or knowledge). After languishing in limbo for years, Sound of Freedom found a new distributor in Angel Studios, a faith-forward media company known for crowdfunding its projects. In this case, they raised $5 million for P&A, or prints and advertising costs — the physical film that is projected in theaters and materials for marketing the film. Marta was one of thousands to contribute to this budget, and while it’s not clear how much he gave, Angel offered these backers a maximum 120 percent return.

Jeffrey Harmon, one of Angel Studios’ five cofounders, responded to news of Marta’s arrest defensively on Twitter, pointing out just how many people had participated in the crowdfunding. “Someone had to do some serious homework to find one random dude isn’t a good guy,” he posted. Shortly after, he complained, “Seriously, who sorted through 6,600 names of random people who put a few hundred dollars into P&A funding and cross checked it with local judicial databases?” Harmon then described Marta’s kidnapping charges as a “nothingburger.” Only after he was criticized for responding in a way counter to the message of Sound of Freedom did he tweet, “Of course I condemn [Marta].”

Other Angel cofounders have yet to comment on Marta’s arrest via social media. In the meantime, however, Sound of Freedom boosters did what they could to minimize Marta’s connection to the film. Most took a page from Harmon, arguing that several thousand people donated to get the movie a wide release — and expressing none of the frenzied outrage about crimes against children it has provoked in recent weeks.

One Twitter blue check went so far as to address Marta’s charge directly, claiming that it couldn’t be too “serious” given that his bond (which he paid) was set at $15,000. Another protested that Sound of Freedom was “funded mostly by Mexican investors,” choosing instead to ignore the kidnapping case at hand. A third tried to pivot the discourse to the exact amount Marta gave Angel Studios in order to appear in the movie’s credits.

Neal Harmon, Jeffrey Harmon’s brother and CEO of Angel Studios, offered a statement about crowdfunding on the company’s website. It seemed to allude to the Marta situation without explicitly naming him. “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,” the release states. “One of the perks of investing was the ability to be listed in the credits.”

“We’re grateful to brave law enforcement officials who have already arrested dozens of traffickers in the weeks following Sound of Freedom’s release,” the statement continues, Harmon apparently crediting such actions to the heavily fictionalized biopic of an anti-trafficking activist who allegedly misrepresents his work and was just ousted from his own organization. “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.”

Awareness, that is, of alleged perpetrators who don’t appear in the credits of the film, as Marta does. The proud investor is due back in court for his next hearing at the end of August. Whatever the outcome, one fact remains beyond a reasonable doubt: a month after this dour drama upended the summer blockbuster season, Sound of Freedom is still causing a stir. The next controversy could be right around the corner.