Amid Controversy, ‘American Sniper’ Billboard Vandalized With ‘Murder’ Graffiti in West L.A.
A billboard for the movie “American Sniper” was pulled down in the Sawtelle neighborhood of West Los Angeles after someone sprayed “murder” on it over the weekend.
The billboard, which was located at the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and Bundy Drive, had been vandalized by Sunday night, according to a photo tweeted by Remi Kanazi.
It was initially covered up before later being removed and replaced with one advertising the new iPhones.
The Los Angeles Police Department said it did not have a report on the incident.
“American Sniper” stars Bradley Cooper as Navy Seal Chris Kyle, the deadliest sniper in U.S. history. The movie is based off the Iraq War veteran’s 2012 memoir, “American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History,” and was on best-seller lists for months, according to CNN.
Kyle was shot and killed by a former Marine at a Texas gun range in 2013. He was 38 years old when he died.
Despite a record-breaking box office haul over the weekend, the Clint Eastwood-directed film has been the subject of controversy recently over whether its protagonist, who claimed to have more than 150 kills during his career as a sharpshooter in the military, should be considered a hero or a killer.
During its first weekend of wide release, filmmaker Michael Moore tweeted, “We were taught snipers were cowards. Will shoot u in the back. Snipers aren’t heroes. And invaders r worse.”
After the tweet was met with criticism, Moore later backtracked and explained the sentiment wasn’t directed at the Academy-Award nominated movie.
“I didn’t say a word about ‘American Sniper’ in my tweets,” he wrote in a Facebook post.
Actor Seth Rogen, who recently starred in “The Interview,” another film that generated much controversy, likened it to a Nazi propaganda movie that was shown in Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds.”
Some movie critics have also denounced the film, with one review from The Guardian calling Kyle “a hate-filled killer,” and asking why he was being treated as a hero by “simplistic patriots.”
The film has also generated favorable reviews. It was rated “fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes, receiving an overall rating of 73 percent by critics as of Tuesday morning. General audiences had a more positive impression of the movie, rating it 89 percent fresh, according to the website.
In an interview with the Daily Beast, Cooper deflected some of the criticism and defended Kyle.
“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,” he told the online publication at the Washington D.C. premiere of the film.
Cooper has been nominated for an Academy Award in the best actor category for his portrayal of Kyle.
CNN contributed to this report.