The thriller movie 13 Hours was released on Friday night, and while it has been criticized for its one-dimensional portrayal of Muslims as faceless villains, it seems to have stoked the flames of anti-Muslim hate.
The film, directed by Michael Bay, who is known for big explosions and back-to-back action sequences in movies like Transformers, Armageddon and Pearl Harbor, plays on a conservative obsession over the terrorist attacks on the American diplomatic compound in Libya on September 11, 2012. The attack resulted in the death of ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
The attack was condemned by many Libyans, who took to the streets to condemn the violence, praise Stevens and apologize for the attacks.
That fact hasn’t stopped fans of the movie from taking to Twitter to lash out at Muslims with a broad brush stroke.
#13Hours Obama tell us some more how it’s not radical Islam but instead workplace violence. What a good Muslim u are.
— J (@pullheadfromass) January 16, 2016
Why do I get the impression that muslim-Americans will watch 13 hours and cheer for the jihadists? — Liberty Franklin (@1LibertyLover) January 14, 2016
— Defund NPR PBS & NEA (@Jarjarbug) January 6, 2016
— Democrats are Sheep (@SharkSteak) January 15, 2016
The attack on the consulate has become a partisan issue in the United States, with Republicans insisting that President Barack Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were responsible for the deaths of the Americans in the incident. The Republican-led congressional committee investigating the incident has now outlasted the committees that investigated Watergate and 9/11.
While the movie bills itself as “the true story” of the attack and the courage of American soldiers who fought back, the former CIA chief in charge of the agency’s base in Libya at the time said the crucial moment in the film when the CIA’s security is given a “stand-down” order instead of allowing them to help defend the consulate is false.
“There never was a stand-down order,” the base chief known as Bob, speaking to the Washington Post, said. “At no time did I ever second-guess that the team would depart.”
Anti-Muslim hate has come to a head in the U.S., reflected in comments by GOP front runner Donald Trump, who has said he wants to ban Muslims from entering the country. The Des Moines Register reports Trump rented out a movie theater in Iowa to let voters watch the movie for free on Friday night.