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‘American Sniper’ screening prompts outrage, controversy at UCLA

Student uproar over the decision at UCLA to screen “American Sniper” prompted campus officials to add a post-film discussion to the program as a compromise.

The decision was made after dozens of students plastered the Campus Events Commission’s Facebook page “with concerns that the film promotes Islamophobia and glorifies war,” The Daily Bruin reports, adding:

“CEC didn’t initially plan on having a discussion after the movie, but after receiving backlash for the event, [events commissioner Greg] Kalfayan added a roundtable discussion after the screening for students to express their opinions.”

Communication studies professor Keith Fink moderated the post-film discussion, held Tuesday. The screening attracted an estimated 450 students, according to its events page.

“Despite the added discussion, some students said they feel the movie perpetuates Islamophobia and that showing the movie is offensive to several communities on campus,” the Bruin reports.

One of the comments posted on the Facebook events page was by student Haley Kingbury, who argued: “So many people do NOT want this movie shown. Why not cancel it and respect those individuals who have genuine reasons for their objection? The people who will be upset by the cancellation will move on. Those who are excessively enraged by the cancellation are the reason it needs to be cancelled.”

And as Truth Revolt reported, some comments were more extreme, including those from a UCLA activist and former student, who called “for violent death of US troops, commenting, ‘how about eat the troops? i mean hopefully their flesh gets roasted by some i.e.d. if they’re out occupying,’ and ‘I’d rather a thousand US troops die horribly than one victim of their wars.'”

“American Sniper” continues to prompt controversy at other campus screenings across the country as well.

A protest of the movie is expected tonight during its debut at Northern Illinois University, where a Muslim Student Association leader has declared “I consider veterans and our military to be the real terrorists.”

Earlier the month, a group of students stormed a showing of the blockbuster on the Eastern Michigan University campus, disrupting the movie with signs and questions to the audience.

The University of Michigan actually canceled its screening of the film due to Muslim student protests, but eventually rescheduled it after a national uproar.

“American Sniper” also drew heavy fire at the University of Missouri for offending Muslim members of the community. One of its leaders had stated: “This film is blatant racist, colonialist propaganda that should not be shown under any circumstances and especially not endorsed by a branch of student government that purports to represent me and have my best interests in mind.”

And the Muslim Student Association also had a hand this month in getting the film’s screening at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute postponed.

“American Sniper” – the highest grossing film of 2014 – tells the story of the emotional journey our service men and women who go to war face, and it isn’t pretty, and it leaves them at best scarred and at worst dead.

In particular it follows U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, who served four combat tours in Operation Iraqi Freedom and was awarded two Silver Stars, five Bronze Stars with Valor, two Navy and Marine Corp Achievement Medals, and one Navy and Marine Corps commendation, according to his official Facebook page.

But the protestors see him differently, and it’s unclear if many of the Muslim students who complain about the movie have even seen it.

Jennifer Kabbany is editor of The College Fix (@JenniferKabbany)

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About the Author
Fix Editor
Jennifer Kabbany is editor of The College Fix. She previously worked as a daily newspaper reporter and columnist for a decade in Southern California, and prior to that held editorial positions at The Weekly Standard, Washington Times and FrontPageMagazine. She is also a Robert Novak Journalism Fellowship recipient and has contributed to National Review.