The film “American Sniper” has enflamed a ten year feud between film makers Clint Eastwood and Michael Moore, where Eastwood has been accused of threatening to kill Moore in 2005. This came at an awards ceremony for both men from the National Board of Review. The awards were for the films “Million Dollar Baby” and “Fahrenheit 9/11”.
“…Michael, if you ever show up at my front door with a camera – I’ll kill you.”
The feud started with the production and release of Moore’s film in 2002, “Bowling for Columbine”. In the film, Moore does an interview with Charlton Heston, who at the time was battling with Alzheimer’s, which has been viewed with negativity from many critics. Moore utilized editing in the film to doctor the interview in favor of his film’s viewpoint, and went so far as taking speeches that Heston had done at NRA meetings to depict him as a provocateur of the Columbine shootings.
After the release of “American Sniper”, Moore sent out two Tweets, saying “My uncle killed by sniper in WW2. We were taught snipers were cowards. Will shoot you in the back. Snipers aren’t heroes. And invaders are worse” and “But if you’re on the roof of your home defending it from invaders who’ve come 7K miles, you are not a sniper, you are brave, you are a neighbor.” Ironic, because the distance from the United States to the areas in the South Pacific where the First Marine Division was operating during World War II was seven thousand miles, give or take.
Some of the hostilities towards the film come from the fact that the Iraqi combatants are referred to as “savages” throughout the film. In many of his speeches, Moore has taken the side of Muslim extremists/terrorists, and has even gone so far as stating that the individuals involved in the Twin Towers incident on 9/11 deserved what they got. He also has a book “Stupid White Men” where one of the chapters is titled “Kill Whitey”.
The film is based off of the autobiographical account of the events in Iraq by the Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. In the novel, SEALs and other marines regularly referred to Iraqi combatants as “savages” because of their treatment of US soldiers and other Iraqis. He was interviewed by Bill O’Reilly on the subject, and said, “…the beheadings, the rape of innocent villagers and townspeople, just to intimidate them. They live by putting fear into other people’s hearts. Civilized people just don’t act that way.” Eastwood’s decision to add this to the film was an accurate depiction of events, coming from the book itself.
Lastly, there is the matter of the threat on Michael Moore’s life. On his Facebook feed, where Moore is talking about the differences between him and Eastwood, he says “The fact-checking site, Snopes, weighed in also this week and declared the Eastwood “I’ll kill you” statement to me to be TRUE”. However, on the article in Snopes.com, there are no references to the source of where the information came from. By the websites admission, “Video of Clint Eastwood’s acceptance speech is not readily available online”. There is not a single video online to substantiate the claim. While there are a multitude of articles online about the apparent threat, no sources are cited in them, and all reference each other as the point of origin.
So the question is, did Clint Eastwood threaten Michael Moore? We are going to have to take Eastwood’s word for it in his interview at CinemaCon concerning the feud:
“Everybody’s saying I threatened to kill Michael Moore,” said Eastwood. “That’s not true.” Then: “It isn’t a bad idea.”