The following is a news release, followed by an open letter to Clint Eastwood.
A coalition of Monterey Bay Area organizations and individuals is calling on Monterey County resident, filmmaker Clint Eastwood, to condemn the violent extremism prompted by his latest film, American Sniper.
American Sniper is based on the autobiography of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, reputedly the deadliest sniper in American history. In his book, Kyle boasted of having killed 160 Iraqi “savages” during his four deployments in Iraq, following the U.S.-led invasion and occupation in 2003.
The film has broken box office records. It was nominated for six Academy Awards and won one.
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) has warned of a significant rise in violent hate rhetoric targeting Arab-Americans and Muslims following the release of the film. The signatories to the open letter ask Monterey County’s most famous resident to denounce the violent expressions of bigotry inspired, however unintentionally, by his film.
For further information, please contact Phillip Crawford or Michael Frederiksen at the Monterey Peace and Justice Center, 1364 Fremont Blvd, Seaside, CA 93955. 831-899-7322.
The text of the letter follows.
February 23, 2015
Dear Mr. Eastwood:
Since 9/11, hate speech and hate crimes against Muslims and Arabs have been increasing. Following the release of your film American Sniper in theaters across the US, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) has reported “a significant rise in violent hate rhetoric targeting the Arab and Muslim-American communities.” Critics of the film’s depiction of Chris Kyle have been subjected to hate-filled comments and violent threats on social media. (Source: Washington Post, Jan. 28, 2015.)
You are a world-renowned film director and the most famous living resident of Monterey County. As concerned citizens of this community, we call on you to join us in publicly and unequivocally denouncing the anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bigotry which has erupted in response to this film.
Zahra Billoo, Council on American-Islamic Relations, San Francisco Bay Area Office*
Mishka Chudilowsky, Palestine Action Committee
Phillip Crawford, President, Monterey Peace and Justice Center
Carole January Erickson, community activist
Patti Fashing, community activist
Helga Fellay, community activist
Steven Goings, National Coalition Building Institute, Monterey County
Nashwan Hamza, President, Arab American Club of Monterey*
Peggy Olsen, Chair Pro Tem, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Monterey County
Sue Parris, Regional Director, National Coalition Building Institute, Monterey County
Larry Parrish, community activist
Wanda Sue Parrot, Unitarian Universalist Church of the Monterey Peninsula
Helen Rose, Monterey Peace and Justice Center
Sidney Ramsden Scott, community activist
Susan Sailow, community activist
Joyce Vandevere, Monterey Peace and Justice Center and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
Joe Watson, President, Monterey County Branch, NAACP
* Organization listed for identification purposes only.