[Updated (4/8/2015, 8:00 p.m.) with the center’s statement that American Sniper would be shown in a separate forum.]
The University of Michigan’s Center for Campus Involvement canceled a planned showing of the movie American Sniper after student complaints about how the film depicts Middle Eastern people, The Michigan Daily reported, and the decision prompted a backlash that resulted in the center saying the film would be shown in a different venue. A petition started by a student, Lamees Mekkaoui, attracted the signatures of roughly 200 other students and resulted in the initial decision to cancel the screening.
“Although we respect the right to freedom of speech, we believe that with this right comes responsibility: responsibility of action, intention, and outcome,” the letter reads, in part. “The movie American Sniper not only tolerates but promotes anti-Muslim ... rhetoric and sympathizes with a mass killer.”
The film, released last year, tells the life story of Chris Kyle, a Navy Seal who served four tours of duty in the War in Iraq, and is recognized as the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history.
In a statement, the center said it “did not intend to exclude any students or communities on campus through showing this film.”
The center tweeted Tuesday that the film Paddington would be shown Friday instead.
But later on Tuesday, the center tweeted that American Sniper would be shown after all, albeit “in a separate forum that provides an appropriate space for dialogue & reflection.”