- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Former pro wrestler and Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura has joined director Michael Moore and actor Seth Rogen in denigrating “American Sniper” and its subject, the late Navy SEAL Chris Kyle.

Mr. Ventura said during an interview Wednesday that Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper” — which he has not seen — is as authentic as his 1970s “Dirty Harry” cop films. He then said the famous sniper was a man without honor.

“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,” Mr. Ventura told The Associated Press, referring to his defamation lawsuit against the late SEAL’s estate over a subchapter in his autobiography titled “Punching Out Scruff Face.”

Kyle said in “American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper In U.S. Military History,” that a 9/11 conspiracy theorist was upsetting Navy SEALs after a team member’s wake.

When asked to “cool it,” the man referred to only as “Scruff Face” allegedly said that the SEALs “deserve to lose a few.” Kyle said he punched the man and ran out of the bar where they had been drinking. In later interviews, Kyle said “Scruff Face” was Mr. Ventura, who has in fact dabbled in such “truther” theories.

Mr. Ventura won his defamation suit against the late SEAL’s estate and a judge awarded him $1.8 million. Publisher HarperCollins has removed the passage from the best-selling book, although the Kyle estate has appealed the ruling.

SEE ALSO: ‘American Sniper’ thrills Baghdad crowd: ‘Shoot him! He has an IED!’

The verdict drew considerable criticism against Mr. Ventura from veterans advocates, most caustically from Marcus Luttrell, the subject of last January’s “war hero” hit film “Lone Survivor.” He tweeted out pictures of Mr. Ventura posing as “The Body” when he was a pro-wrestling heel and the captions “I sued a widow” and “Hit me … I won’t fight back. I’ll just wait for you to die and sue your wife.”

Ed Huddleston, a lawyer for Kyle’s widow, Taya Kyle, told AP they would not respond to Mr. Ventura’s remarks because the lawsuit is on appeal.

“American Sniper,” which stars Bradly Cooper and has a Best Picture Oscar nomination, has made $209 million in just over two weeks of wide-release.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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