A 51-year-old Missouri man with his face and hair colored to look like The Joker was arrested yesterday, accused of making death threats on a Facebook livestream. The man threatened to kill five random people, and admitted that he dressed as the supervillain for attention. It seems he got it, as law enforcement charged him with five separate counts of making a criminal threat. Police in University City, MO, picked up Jeremy J. Garnier yesterday, and Garnier is currently being held without bail. Garnier's alleged video is no longer available online, but he reportedly dressed like The Joker in it, as well as in his now-viral mugshot.
Unlike the Colorado mass shooter who targeted a late-night screening of The Dark Knight Rises a few years ago, it appears that Garnier did in fact set out to look like The Joker. In the case of the Colorado shooter, that was just some speculation that became accepted fact becuase the story was moving so fast.
"Yes, I'm doing this for attention, but the attention I seek is to take over the world," Garnier said in the video, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "I’m going to start killing people until this reaches a thousand (viewers), and once it reaches a thousand, I'm going to go out in public and I'm going to kill more. We're not going to go to any movie theaters. We're going to go totally unarmed because we don't want to alert the authorities into thinking we might be on an actual rampage."0comments
That logic sounds a bit like something one might hear out of Heath Ledger's "some people just want to watch the world burn" Joker, only less eloquent and coherent. The Joker is an obvious figure for criminals to latch onto, since with no powers and no protection he manages to stand toe to toe with one of the most popular superheroes in pop culture simply by being crazy.
There was a good deal of conversation last year about whether Todd Phillips's Joker movie was going to encourage unstable people to emulate his behavior, a narrative that Phillips himself and Warner Bros. dismissed. The film's star, Joaquin Phoenix, would go on to win the Best Actor Academy Award for the part -- only the second time ever that two different actors had earned Academy Awards for playing the same character. The other was Marlon Brando for The Godfather and Al Pacino for The Godfather Part II.
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