In the wake of so many mass shootings by mentally unstable people, isn’t there a line you don’t cross when it comes to provoking violence? In Hollywood, it seems to have been ignored when it comes to enticing the public audience to watch yet another violent film that makes a killer appear to have warranted reasons. In recent years several mass murders were acted upon by mentally unstable people. Did they get ideas about how to carry out attacks from glorified villains?
One such attack was the 2012 Aurora, Colorado killings at a movie theater at a screening of “The Dark Knight Rises”.
The victims’ families are expressing concerns about the upcoming release of JOKER. According to Joaquin Phoenix, the JOKER star, all art forms have some type of complications. “If you want uncomplicated art, you might want to take up calligraphy.”
JOKER centers on a mentally disturbed man whose aspirations to become a stand-up comic are derailed, making him lose touch with reality and sending him into a bloody tailspin that provokes copycat crimes and anarchic violence.
JOKER has certainly caused a lot of conversation online and received a wide array of reactions. The conversation posits that, as a film about a deranged man whose mental breakdown leads to deadly violence, it could be unintentionally portraying the Joker as a heroic or inspirational figure.
Vanity Fair suggested Joker, which they deemed “a deeply troubling origin story,” may be “irresponsible propaganda for the very men it pathologizes.”
Here’s the full text of the letter to Warner Bros. from victims’ families of the Aurora Shooting: (ref. Variety)
Dear Ann Sarnoff,
We are the family members and friends of the 12 people killed at the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado at a screening of The Dark Knight Rises on July 20, 2012. This tragic event, perpetrated by a socially isolated individual who felt “wronged” by society has changed the course of our lives.
As a result, we have committed ourselves to ensuring that no other family ever has to go through the absolute hell we have experienced and the pain we continue to live with. Trust us, it does not go away.
When we learned that Warner Bros. was releasing a movie called “Joker” that presents the character as a protagonist with a sympathetic origin story, it gave us pause.
We want to be clear that we support your right to free speech and free expression. But as anyone who has ever seen a comic book movie can tell you: with great power comes great responsibility. That’s why we’re calling on you to use your massive platform and influence to join us in our fight to build safer communities with fewer guns.
Over the last several weeks, large American employers from Walmart to CVS have announced that they are going to lean into gun safety. We are calling on you to be a part of the growing chorus of corporate leaders who understand that they have a social responsibility to keep us all safe.
Specifically, we’re asking you to do the following:
● End political contributions to candidates who take money from the NRA and vote against gun
reform. These lawmakers are literally putting your customers and employees in danger.
● Use your political clout and leverage in Congress to actively lobby for gun reform. Keeping
everyone safe should be a top corporate priority for Warner Brothers.
● Help fund survivor funds and gun violence intervention programs to help survivors of gun violence
and to reduce every-day gun violence in the communities you serve.
Since the federal government has failed to pass reforms that raise the standard for gun ownership in America, large companies like Warner Brothers have a responsibility to act. We certainly hope that you do.
They aren’t asking Warner Bros. to pull “Joker” from release, saying they support free speech, but say its “sympathetic origin story… gave us pause.”
In their response statement, Warner Bros. replied: Warners acknowledges that art is designed to “provoke difficult conversations around complex issues,” but insists that Joker is not intended to glorify the character.
Joaquin Phillips stated, “The movie makes statements about a lack of love, childhood trauma, lack of compassion in the world. I think people can handle that message.”
The movie “Joker” will be released in theaters in October.
Ref. MSN/entertainment/variety, ign.com,
Photo courtesy of Bing via theringer.com