Warner Bros. Joker movie has cemented itself into a bonafide box office hit, with the latest projections indicating that it could gross close to a billion dollars worldwide. The twisted journey of Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) has been shrouded in controversy even before it hit theaters, but it looks like one key scene from the film is causing ire in a very specific way. According to a new report by Gothamist, the popularity of Joker has caused ire for residents of the Highbridge neighborhood in the Bronx, where the iconic scene of Arthur dancing as the Joker was originally filmed. The "Joker Stairs" have reportedly led to an influx of tourists in the weeks since the film debuted, with many flocking to take a picture or video of themselves evoking Arthur's unique mannerisms.
Reportedly, some residents have grown increasingly frustrated with the stairs' new popularity, as it has prevented them from using the pathway to get to work or school. Some have reportedly stopped using the structure altogether, for fear of popping up in the background of the ever-growing "#JokerStairs" trend on social media.
This culminated in a flyer being taped to a pole nearby the stairs, which reads "It is disrespectful to treat our community and residents as a photo opportunity for your social media or 'it' moment. This is real life, not a movie and we're not jokin'."
“We hope it ends soon because we don’t need this,” Jonathan Francis, a lifelong resident of the neighborhood, revealed. “We feel disrespected.”
The new popularity of the stairs sparked a tweet from The Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., who hoped that those who visit the neighborhood for the photo op also decide to support local businesses in the process. But according to some citizens of the neighborhood, that is not the case.
When you visit, check out https://t.co/qc2jUsxztR and @TheBronxTourism and learn about some of our borough’s many fine attractions and restaurants...and spend some $$$ in The Bronx! https://t.co/wpBwGY4vcT— Ruben Diaz Jr. (@rubendiazjr) October 17, 2019
“Understand that it is not just selfies and hashtags," Brayan Feliz, who grew up several blocks away from the staircase, explained. “Understand that people live in those places and that just you taking a picture is gonna have an impact in that community.”
Some are choosing to see the trend in a positive light, as it could potentially lead to a change in the upkeep of the stairs, as citizens had reportedly had issues with how clean the fixture was in the past.
“It’s more now about how do we keep the areas clean and attractive for the residents that actually do live there and are there on a daily basis and have to walk up and down these steps,” State Assemblymember Latoya Joyner said.0comments
What do you think of the discourse surrounding the "Joker stairs"? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!
Joker is in theaters now. Upcoming DC movies include Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) on February 7, 2020, Wonder Woman 1984 on June 5, 2020, The Batman on June 25, 2021, The Suicide Squad on August 6, 2021, and Aquaman 2 on December 16, 2022.