Michael Moore: Yes, Clint Eastwood Threatened to Kill Me
"American Sniper" director Clint Eastwood is known not only as an accomplished actor and director but also as a political loose cannon. His monologue that involved talking to an empty chair at the 2012 Republican convention went viral, and forever ingrained him in the minds of Americans as a hardcore, if slightly unhinged, Republican.
It has long been reported that Eastwood jokingly threatened to kill left-wing filmmaker Michael Moore during a 2005 National Board of Review dinner. In a Facebook status written Thursday night, Moore, who is a critic of Eastwood's latest film, and of the whole idea that snipers like Chris Kyle are courageous, confirmed what happened that night:
A lot of people are asking me if this is true as this "rumor" about Clint Eastwood confronting me in 2005 has now re-surfaced and floated around the internet in the past few days. So I thought I should say a few words...
Ten years ago this past week, Clint Eastwood stood in front of the National Board of Review awards dinner and announced to me and to the crowd that he would "kill" me if I ever came to his house with my camera for an interview.
"I'll kill you," he declared.
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 reflects on Eastwood's threat as part of a larger trend by the far-right to threaten and intimidate those who dare to question taboos like the impeccability of Chris Kyle's character in "American Sniper": “This past week or so of hysterical attacks on me 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 - "Criticize or mock those whom we deify, like our sainted sniper, and we will harm you most assuredly."