Dangerous propaganda, tense war flick, or both? When it comes to “American Sniper,” it seems like everyone has an opinion — especially on Twitter.
Since “American Sniper,” Clint Eastwood’s latest directorial effort and war movie, was released in theaters across the nation on Jan. 16, it has broken box office records, pulling in $107 million over the Martin Luther King Jr. four-day holiday weekend.
The film follows Chris Kyle, a former Navy SEAL, before, during and after his four tours of duty in Iraq, where he became one of the most skilled snipers in U.S. military history. After returning to civilian life in the United States, he was killed in 2013 by another Iraq War veteran.
Despite the film’s box office success and its six Oscar nominations, “American Sniper” hasn’t been without its critics. It has been called “jingoistic propaganda” that is filled with “outright lies,” and described as “recruitment propaganda for culture-war extremists.”
In a scathing critique put up on Storify, Rania Khalek, author of the blog Dispatches from the Underclass, wrote, “’American Sniper’ is dangerous propaganda that sanitizes a mass killer & rewrites the Iraq war.”
“While the glorification of American psycho sniper Chris Kyle on the big screen is atrocious, the movie’s rewriting of the US destruction of Iraq and racist portrayal of Arabs is worse and far more dangerous,” Khalek wrote.
The controversy surrounding the film has erupted with a flurry of hate-filled tweets and reactions on Twitter. MintPress News shares some of those with you here:
Ishaan Tharoor, a foreign affairs reporter for the Washington Post, tweeted about the film’s popularity in Washington, D.C. on Friday:
On Metro to work today, saw three different people reading "American Sniper" during their commute. Guh.
— Ishaan Tharoor (@ishaantharoor) January 23, 2015
Bestselling author John O’Farrell felt he learned something new:
Saw 'American Sniper'. Had no idea Fox News has started making films.
— John O'Farrell (@mrjohnofarrell) January 23, 2015
The following are examples of hate-filled tweets inspired by the film:
American sniper made me appreciate the work our soldiers do, & also made me hate camel riding rag heads loads more #AmericanSniper
— not active (@NorthernLad97) January 19, 2015
Saw American Sniper yesterday, and it was great. Made me wanna think twice about the army but def wanna go snipe some ragheads.
— Doctor Dab (@swishersweetner) January 21, 2015
American sniper is sick. I wanna go shoot some rag heads now. @ City of Millbrae http://t.co/fCCOsNuaRh
— Mixing & Mastering (@DiggsMixing) January 15, 2015
Meanwhile, these tweets have been deleted, the accounts protected or the account apparently deleted since going viral:
Yousef Erakat, a Palestinian-American entertainer with a massive YouTube presence and a strong Twitter following, unleashed a series of tweets about the film, including the following:
The following came in response to either the hate-laden tweets inspired by the film or in response to the film itself:
American Sniper kind of reminds me of the movie that's showing in the third act of Inglorious Basterds.
— Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) January 18, 2015
When Muslims glorify violence they're terrorists. When Hollywood does it 2brainwash minds of millions of Americans it's art. #AmericanSniper
— Maher Arar (@ArarMaher) January 22, 2015
To all haters who were inspired to "kill" Muslims and Arabs all I gotta say is keep freakin' dreamin' #AmericanSniper
Btw, who invaded?
— Rbanaja (@RSbaan) January 22, 2015
Most of those predjudiced people who want to go "kill the arabs/muslims" after seeing American Sniper are too scared to enlist.
— spooky black. (@Tuhnahkuh) January 20, 2015
Filthy and reductionist portrayal of the Iraq war. Genuinely sad to watch
— fadi (@mr_alzubad) January 23, 2015
American Sniper gonna sweep the Oscars. White man killing Arabs? Emotional scenes w wife? Clint Eastwood directing? GOLD
— Sunflower Samurai (@LeeTRBL) January 15, 2015