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'American Sniper' Billboard In West L.A. Graffitied With 'Murder!'

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Someone vandalized a billboard for the controversial, Academy Award-nominated film American Sniper in West L.A., spray painting the word "Murder!" on the ad. The billboard at Wilshire Blvd. and Bundy Dr. in Sawtelle was taken down after someone spray painted "MURDER!" in big red letters on it on Sunday, KTLA reports. Now, the billboard is advertising iPhones.

A photo of the billboard was tweeted out yesterday by Palestinian-American writer and activist Remi Kanazi. Kanazi has been critical about the film and the Iraq War in subsequent tweets as well.

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The film is about Chris Kyle, a U.S. Navy SEAL who racked up a confirmed 160 kills in the Iraq War, out of a possible 255 total kills. Directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Bradley Cooper, the film uses Kyle's autobiography American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History as its source material. Its wide release was on January 16.

The film has been met with some criticism, with some saying that it glamorizes a killer. Michael Moore tweeted out that his uncle was killed by a sniper and that snipers are cowards, not heroes. However, he later said his tweet wasn't about the film. Seth Rogen tweeted that American Sniper reminded him of a propaganda film that appeared in Inglourious Basterds featuring a Nazi soldier gunning down his enemies, but later tweeted he liked American Sniper and accused the media of blowing things out of proportion.

The novel and film follow Kyle's personal and professional life, including meeting his wife (played by Sienna Miller in the film) and becoming a U.S. Navy SEAL sniper. Kyle goes on four tours, which causes strife at home while his wife raises their two children. Eventually, Kyle returns home and finds peace assisting wounded veterans.

Though the film only mentions this right before the credits, the real-life Kyle was shot and killed at age 38 at a shooting range by a Eddie Ray Routh, a 25-year-old veteran Kyle was trying to help deal with mental issues. Routh goes on trial for the murder of Kyle and Kyle's friend, Chad Littlefield, next month.

In lighter news, the film also met some criticism for the use of a fake baby in a scene involving Cooper and Miller. The obviously fake infant was explained by a since deleted tweet from screenwriter Jason Hall, claiming that the first real baby had a fever and the second was a no show, NY Times reports.

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Controversy aside, the film still made $105 million in four days, which is the biggest opening weekend take for a drama, ABC LA reports. The film is also nominated for several Academy Awards, including Best Picture.