© 2018 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved/Nikos Tavernise (LOS ANGELES) — On July 20, 2012, James Holmes, a gunman with dyed orange hair opened fire in in an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater during a screening of the Batman film The Dark Knight Rises. He was convicted of killing 12 people and injuring 70 — and now some of the victims and their family members fear the new movie Joker could prompt similar bloodshed.
Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix’s acclaimed film won’t be screening at that theater when the movie opens October 4, but that’s not enough for the family members of some of the Aurora victims. They’ve senta letter asking Warner Bros. to donate to groups that aid victims of gun violence, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The studio has “a social responsibility to keep us all safe,” the letter reads, according to the publication.
Sandy Phillips, whose 24-year-old daughter Jessica Ghawi, was killed in Aurora, says “My worry is that one person who may be out there…who is wanting to be a mass shooter, may be encouraged by this movie.”
However, Pierce O’Farrill, who was shot multiple times in the massacre, isn’t protesting Joker, despite the fact that he suffers from PTSD, and still has a bullet lodged in his arm. While he agrees that the movie may be triggering for some, he says, “I’ll definitely see [it].”
Phoenix and Phillips have also sounded off on the controversy to IGN.
Phoenix said, “…For most of us, you’re able to tell the difference between right and wrong. So I don’t think it’s the responsibility of a filmmaker to teach the audience morality…I mean…I think that’s obvious.”
Phillips said in part, “The movie makes statements about a lack of love, childhood trauma, lack of compassion in the world. I think people can handle that message.”
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