MINNEAPOLIS (TheBlaze/AP) — "American Sniper" is tops at the box office but don't expect to see former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura lining up at a theater for it.
Ventura, a former Navy SEAL, won $1.8 million in a defamation lawsuit last year against the estate of the late Chris Kyle, the SEAL protagonist of the movie, which has sparked debate over whether snipers should be considered heroes. Ventura said Wednesday he won't see the film partly because Kyle is no hero to him.
"A hero must be honorable, must have honor. And you can't have honor if you're a liar. There is no honor in lying," Ventura told The Associated Press from his winter home in Baja California, Mexico. He also noted that the movie isn't playing there.
FILE - In this Oct. 7, 2011 file photo, former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, left, talks to the media in Minneapolis. Ventura sued Chris Kyle, the author of the best-selling book “American Sniper,” for defamation in 2012 after Kyle claimed in his book that he punched Ventura at a California bar. Ventura says the incident never happened, and he’s suing for damages. Kyle, of Texas, was killed last year on a gun range while the lawsuit was pending. His widow, Taya Kyle, is now the central defendant in the case, which goes to trial on Tuesday, July 8, in U.S. District Court in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Genevieve Ross, File)
Ventura also dismissed the movie as propaganda because it conveys the false idea that Iraq had something to do with the 9/11 attacks. "It's as authentic as 'Dirty Harry,'" he said, referring to fictional movie series starring Clint Eastwood, the director of "American Sniper."
In a recent blog post on OAFNation.com, a retired U.S. Marine explained to critics that the movie didn't take a political stance because the film wasn't supposed to be political.
"The film wasn’t about any of that because for US, the war wasn’t about any of that. Do you think any of us gave a f*** about Saddam Hussein, WMD, Bush, Cheney, or any of that s**t that was being ejaculated by the news? The film wasn’t about grey areas, because to us it didn’t matter. All that mattered to us was the guy to our left, and the guy to our right," the Marine, who goes by Grifter, wrote.
Ventura testified Kyle fabricated a subchapter in his "American Sniper" book in which Kyle claimed he punched out a man, whom he later identified as Ventura, at a California bar in 2006 for allegedly saying the SEALs "deserve to lose a few" in Iraq. Ventura said it never happened.
Kyle first named Ventura as the man he punched in an interview on "Opie and Anthony" in 2012 (WARNING: Some strong language):
The jury gave Ventura the legal vindication he craved. Publisher HarperCollins removed the passage from the best-seller, and it gets no mention in the movie. Kyle's estate has appealed. Ventura's separate lawsuit against HarperCollins remains pending.
The former wrestler is now working on the second season of his online-only political talk show "Off the Grid" at Ora.tv, which he records in Mexico, where he lives in a solar-powered home with a satellite Internet connection.
Ed Huddleston, a lawyer for Kyle's widow, Taya Kyle, said they won't comment on Ventura's remarks because the lawsuit is on appeal.
Kyle was killed in 2013 on a shooting range. The former Marine charged in his death goes on trial in Texas next month.
The "American Sniper" film has been a sensation at the box office and has earned more than $200 million domestically since it was released last month on Christmas day.