'American Sniper' cancellation draws Maryland lawmaker's ire

Fri Apr 24, 2015 7:28pm EDT
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By John Clarke

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A state lawmaker launched an online campaign on Friday to overturn a decision to cancel a screening of "American Sniper" at the University of Maryland after a Muslim student group objected to the film about a U.S. Navy marksman in Iraq.

Neil Parrott, a Republican state delegate, said the decision to cancel the screening at the university's College Park campus was an exercise in political correctness and infringes on First Amendment rights to free speech.

“The university should not let the complaints of a few students result in the cancellation of an important film honoring an American hero and accurately portraying the horrors of war,” Parrott said in a statement.

The university's Student Entertainment Events organization announced the cancellation on Wednesday. The school said in a statement Thursday it was not involved in the decision, saying the student-led panel was responsible.

The university's Muslim Students Association said in a statement that the movie, directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Bradley Cooper, is offensive war propaganda that spreads unjustified fear of Islam.

“This movie dehumanizes Muslim individuals, promotes the idea of senseless mass murder, and portrays negative and inaccurate stereotypes,” the statement said.

Warner Bros Pictures, which distributes the film, declined to comment.

The film tells the story of Chris Kyle, a U.S. Navy Seal sharpshooter credited with 255 kills during his service in Iraq. It was scheduled to be screened May 6 and 7.   Continued...