The University of Michigan bowed to pressure and canceled an upcoming screening of American Sniper, replaced the movie with Paddington, and took some flak for caving. So the college announced last night it's going back to its original plan to air the controversial Bradley Cooper movie, with the VP of student life calling the cancellation a "mistake," Fox News reports. "The initial decision to cancel the movie was not consistent with the high value the University of Michigan places on freedom of expression and our respect for the right of students to make their own choices," he said, adding that Paddington would also still be shown as a less controversial option for those who opt out of American Sniper.
The mess began when about 300 people, mostly Muslim and Arab students, signed an online petition criticizing the choice of Sniper because they said it promotes anti-Muslim views and "sympathizes with a mass killer," reports the College Fix. The school's Center for Campus Involvement then canceled the movie, explaining, "While our intent was to show a film, the impact of the content was harmful and made students feel unsafe and unwelcomed." That decision generated a second petition arguing that students are capable of watching it and thinking for themselves, reports the Detroit Free Press. Even UM football coach Jim Harbaugh tweeted his support: "Michigan Football will watch "American Sniper"! Proud of Chris Kyle & Proud to be an American & if that offends anybody then so be it!"