Canceled at U-M student event, 'American Sniper' now to be shown at later date

UPDATE: University of Michigan Football Coach Jim Harbaugh tweeted Wednesday night that his team will be watching "American Sniper" with a screening of their own.

Harbaugh tweeted: "Michigan Football will watch "American Sniper"! Proud of Chris Kyle & Proud to be an American & if that offends anybody then so be it!"

After first pulling "American Sniper" from a University of Michigan  student screening, the film will be shown after all.

But it will not be featured at the Best of UMix event this Friday, as originally scheduled. After some students expressed concern over the content of the film, it was canceled Tuesday, The Michigan Daily reported. 

Concerns were said to be raised over anti-Arab and anti-Muslim feelings from the film.

One day later on Wednesday,  it was announced the movie will be shown in a separate event, according to a statement on the Center for Campus Involvement Facebook Page, posted shortly before 3 p.m.

The statement said, in part: "We are planning to screen 'American Sniper' separately from the upcoming UMix event, in a forum that provides an appropriate space for dialogue and reflection. More information will be provided as details are confirmed."

A public backlash ensued claiming censorship, sparking an online petition. 

The petition reads, in part: 

"The movie American Sniper is not about a racist mass murderer or a criminal. It is about a decorated American war hero who served his country valiantly. While we may disagree about the motives and politics of the Iraq War, the movie shows the sacrifice that Chris Kyle made, like so many of his fellow servicemen and women who put themselves in harm's way to protect our country, including numerous University of Michigan alumni."

When the decision was made to cancel the screening, the official word by the Center for Campus Involvement was that "Student reactions clearly articulated that this was neither the venue nor the time to show this movie. 

"Therefore, we have elected to pull the film from this week's program and screen another movie in its place that we believe better creates the fun, engaging atmosphere we seek without excluding valued members of the community."

The Oscar-nominated "American Sniper" is based on the biography of Chris Kyle, a Navy SEAL regarded as the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history. It was the top-grossing U.S. film at the box office in 2014.

In the movie's place, the featured film will be "Paddington."
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