Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper, the film covering the life of an American Navy SEAL with the most confirmed “kills” during the course of his duty, has led to an increase in threats against Muslims in the US since its release, an Arab-American civil rights group has claimed.
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) has written to Eastwood and the film’s star, Bradley Cooper, claiming that “the majority of the violent threats we have seen over the past few days are the result of how Arabs and Muslims are depicted in American Sniper”, which follows the career of Chris Kyle while he served in Iraq between 2003 and 2009.
In the letter, the ADC implores Eastwood and Cooper to denounce the “hundreds of violent messages targeting Arab and Muslim Americans from movie-goers,” which it said had been made mostly on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, “in an effort to reduce the hateful rhetoric”.
ADC president Samer Khalaf wrote in the letter: “It is our opinion that you could play a significant role in assisting us in alleviating the danger we are facing.
“Your visibility, influence, and connection to the film would be a tremendous force in drawing attention to and lessening the serious dangers facing the respective communities.”
The ADC, which claims to be the biggest Arab civil rights group in the US, said it is working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and police to assess the threats, which escalated early last week, just before the film went into general release.
More than 100 offensive messages have been collected by ADC as part of their evidence for the increase in hateful messages and threats. One Twitter post read: “Nice to see a movie where the Arabs are portrayed for who they really are – vermin scum intent on destroying us.”
Oscars 2015 nominations
Oscars 2015 nominations
1/28 Birdman - 10 nominations
Academy Award nominated for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress (Emma Stone), Best Actor (Michael Keaton), Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Cinematography, Original Screenplay, Best Director (Alejandro González Iñárritu)
2/28 The Grand Budapest Hotel - 10 nominations
Academy Award nominated for Best Director (Wes Anderson), Best Picture, Film Editing, Production Design, for Makeup and Hairstyling, Costume Design, Cinematography, Original Screenplay, Original Score
3/28 The Imitation Game - 8 nominations
Academy Award nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor (Benedict Cumberbatch), Best Supporting Actor ( Keira Knightley) Best Director (Morten Tyldum), Film Editing, Production Design, Adapted Screenplay, Original Score
4/28 American Sniper - 6 nominations
Oscar nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor (Bradley Cooper), Film Editing, Sound Mixing, Adapted Screenplay
5/28 Boyhood - 6 nominations
Academy Award nominated for Best Picture, Actress in Supporting role (Patricia Arquette) Film Editing, Best Director (Richard Linklater), Original Screenplay
6/28 Whiplash - 5 nominations
Academy Award nominated for Best Picture, Film Editing, Sound Mixing, Adapted Screenplay
7/28 The Theory of Everything - 5 nominations
Oscar nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor (Eddie Redmayne), Best Actress (Felicity Jones), Adapted Screenplay, Original Score
Working Title Films
8/28 Foxcatcher - 5 nominations
Oscar nominated for Best Director (Bennett Miller), Best Actor (Steve Carrell), Original Screenplay, Makeup and Hairstyling
9/28 Selma - 2 nominations
Oscar nominated for Best Picture and Best Original Song
10/28 Mr Turner
Oscar nominated for Production Design, Costume Design, Cinematography, Original Score
Reese Witherspoon is Oscar-nominated for best actress in a leading role and Laura Dern is nominated for best supporting actress
12/28 Two Days, One Night
Marion Cotillard has been nominated in the best actress category
Oscar nominated for Original Screenplay
14/28 Gone Girl
Rosamund Pike is Oscar nominated for best actress in a leading role
Twentieth Century Fox
Nominated for Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Production Design, Sound Mixing, Original Score
16/28 Still Alice
Best actress in a leading role nomination for Julianne Moore
17/28 The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies
Oscar nominated for Sound Editing
18/28 Into The Woods
Oscar nominated for Production Design, Costume Design, Best Supporting Actress (Meryl Streep)
19/28 Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Robert Redford and Chris Evans film is nominated for Special Effects
20/28 Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Nominated for an Oscar in the Visual Effects category
20th Century Fox
21/28 The Lego Movie
Oscar nominated for best song 'Everything Is Awesome' but snubbed in best animation category
22/28 X-Men, Days of the Future Past
Oscar nominated in the Visual Effects category
Alan Markfield / 2013 Marvel & Subs / 20th Century Fox Film Corp.
23/28 Begin Again
Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo in Begin Again which is Oscar nominated for best original song
24/28 Guardians Of The Galaxy
Nominated for Visual Effects, for Makeup and Hairstyling
Oscar nominated for Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Cinematography
26/28 How To Train Your Dragon 2
Oscar nominated for Animated Feature Film
Oscar nominated for Costume Design
© Disney Enterprises, Inc.
28/28 Inherent Vice
Oscar nominated for Adapted Screenplay
The Oscar nominated film has become a box-office hit since its release and took just under $100 million last weekend, mainly at American cinemas.
While many critics have praised Coopers performance of the sniper and his portrayal of a soldier attempting to fight his own demons, some feel the film sanitizes the central character, Kyle, who referred to Muslims as “savages” in his memoir, also called American Sniper.
Kyle, who served four tours in Iraq and has 164 confirmed “kills”, was shot at a Texas gun range in 2013.
Jack Horner, a spokesperson for Warner Bros, the studio releasing the film, told Reuters News Agency that the company, a unit of Time Warner Co, “denounces any violent, anti-Muslim rhetoric, including that which has been attributed to viewers” of the film.
“Hate and bigotry have no place in the important dialogue that this picture has generated about the veteran experience,” he added.
Spokespeople for Eastwood and Cooper had no immediate response to requests for comment, Reuters reported.
Additional reporting by Reuters