Bradley Cooper has responded to claims that his new film, American Sniper, is “anti-American.”

The film, directed by Clint Eastwood, depicts the true story of Chris Kyle, a Navy SEAL sniper credited with at least 160 kills during his time spent in the military. Several critics of the film and the subject matter have spoken out against the movie, claiming it is celebrating what they believe to be a “hate-filled killer.”

Author Max Blumenthal tweeted his opinion of the film, saying “I haven’t seen American Sniper, but correct me if I’m wrong: An occupier mows down faceless Iraqis but the real victim is his anguished soul.” Lindy West of The Guardian wrote “The real American Sniper [Navy SEAL Chris Kyle] was a hate-filled killer. Why are simplistic patriots treating him as a hero?” In an article written by Michael Atkinson, he said “American Sniper perfectly epitomizes a certain kind of American horsesh*t.”

Here is a trailer for American Sniper, which open wide this Friday:

Following the responses to American Sniper, Bradley Cooper has spoken out against the backlash. He mentioned the hatred towards the film at length:

“My hope is that if someone is having a political conversation about whether we should or should not have been in Iraq, whether the war is worth fighting, whether we won, whether we didn’t, why are we still there, all those [issues], that really—I hope—is not one that they would use this movie as a tool for… And for me, and for Clint, this movie was always a character study about what the plight is for a soldier. The guy that I got to know, through all the source material that I read and watched, and home videos—hours and hours—I never saw anything like that. But I can’t control how people are gonna use this movie as a tool, or what they pick and choose whatever they want. But it would be short-changing, I think. If it’s not this movie, I hope to god another movie will come out where it will shed light on the fact of what servicemen and women have to go through, and that we need to pay attention to our vets. It doesn’t go any farther than that. It’s not a political discussion about war, even…It’s a discussion about the reality. And the reality is that people are coming home, and we have to take care of them.”

Taya Kyle, the wife of Chris Kyle, whom Bradley Cooper plays in American Sniper, has also spoken out against the negative reactions to the film. “He was not a hate-filled person,” she said. “He was just a man doing his job. There were people who were going to kill his brothers or Iraqi civilians, and he had a choice to make. Either he lets that happen, or he takes on the price of taking somebody else out.”

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