Michael Moore on Eastwood threat, "Sniper": "American Sniper is a mess of a film"

In a new Facebook post tonight, Moore confirms Eastwood's "I'll shoot you" threat, calls extremists "American ISIS"

Published January 30, 2015 2:27AM (EST)

  (Reuters/Lucas Jackson)
(Reuters/Lucas Jackson)

On his Facebook page tonight, Michael Moore addresses a Salon story about an uncomfortable confrontation with Clint Eastwood at a 2005 film awards ceremony.

In his post, the director of "Fahrenheit 911" and "Bowling for Columbine" confirmed the story about Eastwood telling the crowd that he would kill Moore if he ever came to his house with a camera for an interview, and writes about how anxious the threat made him.

Moore writes:

The crowd laughed nervously. As for me, having just experienced a half-dozen assaults in the previous year from crazies upset at 'Fahrenheit 9/11' and my anti-war Oscar speech, plus the attempt by a right wing extremist to blow up my house (he was caught in time and went to prison), I was a bit stunned to hear Eastwood, out of the blue, make such a violent statement. But I instantly decided he was just trying to be funny, so I laughed the same nervous laugh everyone else did. Clint, though, didn't seem to like all that laughter.

"I mean it," he barked, and the audience grew more quiet. "I'll shoot you."

There was a smattering of approving applause, but most just turned around to see what my reaction was. I tried to keep that fake smile on my face so as to appear as if he hadn't "gotten" to me. But he had. I then mumbled to those sitting at my table. "I think Dirty Harry just said, "Make my day, punk."

Moore praises many of Eastwood's films, and calls "Unforgiven" his favorite Western of all time. But then he adds that, "something started to go haywire with Clint in the last decade." The Salon article, he notes, suggests that started with the verbal attack that night. That was followed, Moore notes, by "the (IMHO) awful (and weirdly racist) "Gran Torino" where he got to cast himself as a bigoted retired autoworker in Detroit. Two years later he was on the stage at the Republican National Convention carrying on a berating and confused conversation with an invisible Obama in an empty chair."

Then he issues a strong and smart critique of "American Sniper":

And now 'American Sniper' - a mess of a film that rewrites history (we invade Iraq as revenge for 9/11), perpetuates a racist sentiment to Arabs (Iraqis are "savages"), has a simplistic Hollywood storyline of the good sniper in white vs. the bad sniper in black), and (in a rare moment of honesty) shows the main characters in the film, the American soldiers, either returning home all messed-up by the war (and with some of them turning anti-war) or in a box. The lead character becomes a victim of both the PTSD epidemic AND the violent American/Texan gun culture that eventually takes his life.

There's more, including a reflection on similar threats by Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly, on Moore's Facebook page.

"This past week or so of hysterical attacks on me," he includes, "only proves that the American lovers of violence and the issuers of fatwas in OUR society haven't gone away. They are our American Isis."

By Salon Staff

MORE FROM Salon Staff