Joker is now the biggest movie of the fall season (so far), and is getting some big shine in the pop-culture limelight. Not all of that shine has been good and bright, however, as Joker has managed to also spark quite a bit of controversy around its depiction of Batman's greatest nemesis. One of the most controversial aspects of the film has been one of its musical choices: Joker's infamous stairway dance sequence, set to the tune of the song "Rock 'N Roll Part 2", which was written by UK glam rocker, Gary Glitter.
Glitter was convicted of multiple sex crimes involving kids back in 2015, and imprisoned a sixteen-year sentence. The notion that he would be getting paid off of Joker's success understandably made a lot of people upset with director Todd Phillips. Now, it turns out that the outrage may have been premature, as a new report states that Gary Glitter will get no royalties from Joker, at all.
Consequence of Sound did an extensive report on Joker's musical controversy and got the following update from Snapper Music, the company that owns Gary Glitter's catalog:
"Update: A representative for Snapper Music, which owns the rights to Glitter's catalog in the UK, disputes reporting that Glitter will receive any profits from the song's use. "Gary Glitter does not get paid," a representative told the Los Angeles Times. "We've had no contact with him." Nevertheless, the New York Post reports that Warner Bros. may remove the song from future releases."
It's been noted in several reports that other films have used "Rock and Roll Part 2" or other Glitter songs in the 21st century - well after Glitter (real name Paul Gadd) first admitted to possessing child pornography in a 1999 court hearing. Those films include Meet the Fockers (2014), Silver Linings Playbook (2012) and even the TV show Glee (2011), which made the creepy choice of using "Do You Wanna Touch Me".
This particular case with Joker once again brings us back to the timely discussion of just how much (or not) the lives of artists should be separated from the appreciation of their work (see also: Kevin Spacey, Michael Jackson, R. Kelly, etc...). With Joker the outrage seemed so much more deserved, as Gary Glitter would seemingly benefit financially from the film; if the statement from Snapper music is true, it will be interesting to see how the conversation around this changes.
Joker is now in theaters. 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, 2020.