American documentary maker Michael Moore has tweeted that snipers are “cowards” and that his uncle had been killed by one in the second world war. However, he denies any specific criticism of Clint Eastwood’s latest film American Sniper.

Reports had suggested that the film-maker - whose films include Roger & Me and Fahrenheit 9/11-  was explicitly attacking Eastwood’s movie. American Sniper broke records with a whopping $105m (90m Euros) earned in North America over the four-day Martin Luther King Jr weekend.

Moore’s tweet ran as follows: “My uncle killed by sniper in WW2. We were taught snipers were cowards. Will shoot u in the back. Snipers aren’t heroes. And invaders r worse.”

Writing yesterday on Facebook he confirmed his view of snipers as “cowards” who “don’t believe in a fair fight.” However, he said he had not mentioned American Sniper in his tweet.

“So here’s what I think about American Sniper. Awesome performance from Bradley Cooper. One of the best of the year,” wrote Moore. “Great editing. Costumes, hair, makeup superb!”

In the Eastwood movie, Bradley Cooper plays real-life US Navy Seal and sniper Chris Kyle, who became an American legend – of sorts - after 160 confirmed kills in Iraq.

“Too bad Clint gets Vietnam and Iraq confused in his storytelling,” the always acerbic Moore observed on Facebook. “And that he has his characters calling Iraqis ‘savages’ throughout the film.”

He also mentioned another American hero. “Most of us were taught the story of Jesse James and that the scoundrel wasn’t James (who was a criminal who killed people) but rather the sniper who shot him in the back. I think most Americans don’t think snipers are heroes. Hopefully not on this weekend when we remember that man in Memphis, Tennessee, who was killed by a sniper’s bullet.”