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Warner Bros. says new ‘Joker’ film shouldn’t encourage real-world violence

Tension hit a fever pitch Tuesday as families and victims of the Aurora, Colorado, shooting sent Warner Bros. a letter.

Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck in “Joker,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.
Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck in Warner Bros. Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures and BRON Creative’s “Joker,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.
Niko Tavernise, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

“Joker” might end up being one of the controversial films of the year.

The film has earned praise from critics since it debuted at the Venice Film Festival in August. But other critics have slammed the film for portraying Joker — a mass-murdering villain — as a hero.

Tension hit a fever pitch Tuesday as families and victims of the Aurora, Colorado, shooting sent Warner Bros. a letter that asked the company to get involved with gun control and lobby for more safety.

The U.S. military also reportedly issued warning of “incel” attacks at “Joker” screenings, warning that a possible mass shooting could erupt somewhere in the country.

Warner Bros. remained quiet on the subject until now. Warner Bros. released a statement Wednesday against its upcoming “Joker” film creating real-world violence.

Read the statement below:

  • “Gun violence in our society is a critical issue, and we extend our deepest sympathy to all victims and families impacted by these tragedies. 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 bi-partisan 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.”

Similar: The film’s director, Todd Phillips, said that “Joker” doesn’t excuse the character Joker’s behavior, according to CNBC.