The debut of actor-turned-director Clint Eastwood’s film American Sniper has ignited a wave of patriotism and pro-military support across the nation. The Oscar award winning film has already grossed a whopping $306.5 million domestically, which is more than the seven best picture nominees combined.
The film depicts military career and home life of one of Chris Kyle, who is regarded as America’s most deadly sniper. Like so many other military families, Kyle and his family often struggled with frequent and long deployments with little communication, a fact that active duty military, veterans, and their families appreciated about the film.
However, not everyone is happy.
Critics are now pointing their fingers at Chris Kyle’s widow, Taya Kyle. Chris Kyle spent most of this post-military career advocating support for veterans and helping military families. In fact, it was this dedication to working with veterans that ultimately led to his untimely death when he was shot at close range by another veteran whom Kyle was coaching at a shooting range.
While Chris Kyle was alive, he allegedly told both friends and business associates that he considered any money earned from his autobiography American Sniper as “blood money.” Kyle vehemently maintained that he was dedicated to helping military families and insisted and proceeds be given as charitable donations to struggling families.
While Kyle is said to have donated proceeds of his book to the families of two friends — both of which were fallen Navy SEAL members — their families have remained mum, leaving many to question whether Kyle’s widow, Taya, is truly upholding her late husband’s wishes.
While both the memoir and film have grossed millions, a quiet dispute continues to brew as to who is truly entitled to all that money. Neither the Lee or Job family who Kyle verbally promised to support have filed lawsuits. Legal experts say this could be because they fear criticism for filing a lawsuit against a celebrated widow. Also, because the agreement was verbal in nature, it could be difficult to prove.