Michael Moore posted on Facebook Thursday to set the record straight about a few things. One of the items on his agenda was responding to recent rumors about the time Clint Eastwood threatened to kill him. The decade-old incident got renewed interest this week after it was referenced in a piece about “American Sniper” (another one!) on Salon.
Could this possibly be true? Apparently so, and there were witnesses. Per Moore’s posting:
“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 went on to describe his conflicted feelings about Eastwood, saying that he has great admiration for the director and is a huge fan of “Unforgiven,” Eastwood’s 1992 Oscar-winning western. “But something started to go haywire with Clint in the last decade,” Moore wrote, before revisiting Eastwood’s infamous chair speech during the 2012 Republican National Convention. (Read the entire post here.)
Moore also reminisced about the impact of other public half-kidding death threats against him delivered by Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly, among others. “Needless to say, this kind of thing wreaked all kinds of havoc in my life because of what this hate-speech does to inspire the more deranged among us,” Moore wrote.
Moore plans to elaborate on his feelings about “American Sniper” later this weekend. He was on the receiving end of a backlash after tweeting that he was taught to see snipers as cowards.
He’s since clarified his stance, explaining that it wasn’t necessarily prompted by the Academy Award-nominated movie.