Jesse Ventura has always known how to make headlines, but when he sued Chris Kyle‘s estate for defamation over his portrayal in the book ‘American Sniper‘, the media gave him so headlines he wasn’t expecting. Mainly he was attacked for suing a poor widow and children, but the National Review reported that while Kyle claimed to have donated his books earning to Veteran’s Charities, it was more like only two percent went there.
It was these misconceptions that Ventura has been wanting to clear up. Even after winning the lawsuit, Anderson Cooper, Sarah Palin and Bill O’Reilly made rather chilly comments. Basically, Ventura was asking that the information in ‘American Sniper’ that was untrue about him be taken out and for Chris Kyle to publicly admit that it was untrue. Lawyers seemed to think that it would be easier to settle the case, but for anyone who has known the former Minnesota Governor any amount of time knows that he will stand firm when it comes to principle’s he believes in, including going after someone who has sullied your name.
As the box office weekend shows, American Sniper has hit a soft spot with Americans, so it’s understandable how the media and people thought Ventura was going rogue, but it doesn’t make it right. The film has pulled in over $200 million so it’s going to have people taking a closer look. Ventura also made a point of letting it be known that the book was a mix of fact and fiction alluding that the film is the same way. Below, you can see the seven untruths that AlterNet reported.
On his podcast, “We the people with Jesse Ventura,” the former governor gives an updated statement about American Sniper as the book-turned-movie came to theaters nationwide this past weekend.
Jesse Ventura explains there are still many “misconceptions” about his recent lawsuit win against the Chris Kyle estate:
“[One] of the grave misconceptions about this lawsuit: I was taking money from a widow and her children — no I wasn’t. Her expenses were paid entirely from a giant insurance company. The Kyle family hasn’t suffered one dime of monetary loss,” Jesse Ventura says.
“My lawsuit was to clear my name and show this was a fabrication and a lie,” he continues. He explains that the lawsuit was over what Scruff Face, the character Kyle depicted as Jesse Ventura in American Sniper, said against the Navy SEALS and the military.
“My lawsuit was originally started because this person in the chapter, Scruff Face, committed treason. The chapter took the book to number one [on the New York Times bestsellers list] and ultimately got it the movie deal. The point is, this was fabricated. It never happened,” Ventura says. “I would never say anything like that against my own unit or the military itself.”
During his podcast statement, Jesse Ventura explains he went to settlements “four or five times” before going to trial. All he asked was for the publisher to remove the Scruff Face chapter and for Chris Kyle to publicly admit to the lie; they refused.
“The only thing I was offered was money,” said Ventura. “I refused to settle because to me it wasn’t about money, it was about the truth…they would do nothing to restore my reputation…the only way to stop [the lie] was to bring a lawsuit.”
He also addresses the monetary outcome of the trial: “The jury gave me what they felt I was damaged. The majority of that money is going to my attorney. Again, this will cost the Kyle family nothing for the lie that was written about me.”
And what does Jesse Ventura think about the book being a nonfiction account of a soldier’s experiences, both home and abroad?
“The book is not a true story. The book had fabrication and fiction written into it. [The Scruff Face] chapter was absolutely fabricated.”
Jesse Ventura ends his statement by thanking his fans for standing by him through the trial: “You don’t know how much it means to me. I’ve lost friendships over this, I’ve lost things very close to me over this, my life will never be the same because of this, and I can only state I am a complete innocent victim of the whole thing. I don’t know why I was thrown under the bus.”
Here are AlterNet’s 7 heinous lies about American Sniper:
1. The Film Suggests the Iraq War Was In Response To 9/11: One way to get audiences to unambiguously support Kyle’s actions in the film is to believe he’s there to avenge the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The movie cuts from Kyle watching footage of the attacks to him serving in Iraq, implying there is some link between the two.
2. The Film Invents a Terrorist Sniper Who Works For Multiple Opposing Factions: Kyle’s primary antagonist in the film is a sniper named Mustafa. Mustafa is mentioned in a single paragraph in Kyle’s book, but the movie blows him up into an ever-present figure and Syrian Olympic medal winner who fights for both Sunni insurgents in Fallujah and the Shia Madhi army.
3. The Film Portrays Chris Kyle as Tormented By His Actions: Multiple scenes in the movie portray Kyle as haunted by his service. One of the film’s earliest reviews praised it for showing the “emotional torment of so many military men and women.” But that torment is completely absent from the book the film is based on. In the book, Kyle refers to everyone he fought as “savage, despicable” evil. He writes, “I only wish I had killed more.” He also writes, “I loved what I did. I still do. If circumstances were different – if my family didn’t need me – I’d be back in a heartbeat. I’m not lying or exaggerating to say it was fun. I had the time of my life being a SEAL.” On an appearance on Conan O’Brien’s show he laughs about accidentally shooting an Iraqi insurgent. He once told a military investigator that he doesn’t “shoot people with Korans. I’d like to, but I don’t.”
4. The Real Chris Kyle Made Up A Story About Killing Dozens of People In Post-Katrina New Orleans: Kyle claimed that he killed 30 people in the chaos of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, a story Louisiana writer Jarvis DeBerry calls “preposterous.” It shows the sort of mentality post-war Kyle had, but the claim doesn’t appear in the film.
5. The Real Chris Kyle Fabricated A Story About Killing Two Men Who Tried To Carjack Him In Texas: Kyle told numerous people a story about killing two alleged carjackers in Texas. Reporters tried repeatedly to verify this claim, but no evidence of it exists.
6. Chris Kyle Was Successfully Sued For Lying About the Former Governor of Minnesota: Kyle alleged that former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura defamed Navy SEALs and got into a fight with him at a local bar. Ventura successfully sued Kyle for the passage in his book, and a jury awarded him $1.845 million.
7. Chris Kyle’s Family Claimed He Donated His Book Proceeds To Veterans’ Charity, But He Kept Most Of The Profits: The National Review debunks the claim that all proceeds of his book went to veterans’ charities. Around 2 percent – $52,000 – went to the charities while the Kyles pocketed $3 million.