The upcoming Joker movie from DC and Warner Bros. has found itself at the center of controversy for some time, which is understandable considering its subject matter. The film follows a broken man, played by Joaquin Phoenix, who rises to become a notorious killer. Many have been worried that the story of the film glorifies the villain and his violence, including the friends and family members of those who were killed in the Aurora, Colorado shooting at a showing of The Dark Knight Rises in 2012.
Several of these loved ones wrote a joint letter to Warner Bros. on Tuesday expressing their concerns about Joker's upcoming release and how it would be received by the public. Instead of asking for the studio to censor the film, the letter endorsed WB's creative freedoms and simply asked for support in the fight for gun control. This included a request for the studio not to donate to political candidates that support the NRA.
After weeks of controversy, this letter sparked a response from Warner Bros., as the studio released a statement regarding the issues on Tuesday afternoon.
"Gun violence in our society is a critical issue, and we extend our deepest sympathy to all victims and families impacted by these tragedies," reads the statement. 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."
Joker, directed by Todd Phillips and starring Joaquin Phoenix, is set to hit theaters across the country on October 4th.