Since its debut at the Venice Film Festival in August, “Joker” has been surrounded by controversy for its depiction of the comic book serial killer.
With about a week left before it hits theaters, family members of mass shooting victims are raising concerns about the film’s promotion of violence. Tina Marie Coon, along with three other family members whose children were injured or killed during the Century 16 Theater massacre in Aurora, wrote a letter to Warner Bros. pleading with them to actively lobby for gun reform.
Warner Bros. weighed in on the mounting controversy:
“Gun violence in our society is a critical issue, and we extend our deepest sympathy to all victims and families impacted by these tragedies,” the statement read. “Our company has a long history of donating to victims of violence, including Aurora, and in recent weeks, our parent company joined other business leaders to call on policymakers to enact bipartisan legislation to address this epidemic. At the same time, Warner Bros. believes that one of the functions of storytelling is to provoke difficult conversations around complex issues. Make no mistake: neither the fictional character Joker, nor the film, is an endorsement of real-world violence of any kind. It is not the intention of the film, the filmmakers or the studio to hold this character up as a hero.”
The film stars Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck, a mentally ill and aspiring stand-up comedian and clown-for-hire who eventually becomes the Batman villain. It opens Oct. 4, 2019.
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