Joker's Production Company Speaks Out Over Concerns The Film Glorifies Gun Violence

Actor Joaquin Phoenix recently walked out of an interview when posed with a question about whether the film could inspire similar incidents in the real world.

The production company behind the new Joker film has responded to the controversy surrounding the film’s violence, after some critics suggested that it could inspire future real-life incidents.

Last week its star, Joaquin Phoenix, stormed out of an interview after it was suggested to him that the film could inspire “exactly the kind of people it’s about, with potentially tragic results”.

Following this, an open letter was penned by family members of the victims of the 2012 Aurora mass shooting, requesting that Warner Bros donate to groups that aid victims of gun violence.

Joaquin Phoenix in Joker
Joaquin Phoenix in Joker
Warner Bros

The letter did not call for a boycott, but did express concerns about the film’s potentially graphic content.

Warner Bros has now responded to this in a statement, dismissing claims that Joker glorifies or encourages violence.

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

“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.”

They concluded: “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.”

Joaquin at the film's French premiere
Joaquin at the film's French premiere
Pascal Le Segretain via Getty Images

The Aurora shooting took place at a cinema in Colorado in 2012, where 12 people were murdered and 70 more injured.

The cinema where the shooting took place has said they will not be screening Joker.

Directed by Todd Phillips, Joker is intended as a reimagined origin story of the classic Batman villain.

Joining Joaquin in the cast are Robert De Niro and Frances Conroy, who plays the character’s mother.