Aurora victim’s family slam ‘Joker’ director Todd Phillips

Todd Phillips (R), pictured here with Joaquin Phoenix, defended The Joker against backlash for its violence. (Photo by David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Regardless of Joaquin Phoenix and Todd Phillips’s finest efforts, the dialogue surrounding the violence in Joker isn’t going away — and the dad and mom of one of many victims of the Aurora mass taking pictures intend to maintain it that approach.

Sandy and Lonnie Phillips — no relation to Todd — penned an open letter to the Joker director Tuesday additional explaining why they’re “outraged” over the movie. In 2012, their daughter Jessica was one of many 12 individuals murdered throughout a screening of The Darkish Knight Rises.

“We aren’t outraged about The Joker as a result of it has change into a ‘factor’ to ‘search for issues to be outraged about,'” they start, explaining they’re “outraged” as a result of their daughter “was murdered by a person who was simply in a position to acquire firearms and ammunition in Aurora, Colorado. We’re outraged as a result of since her dying, roughly 272,700 extra People misplaced their lives in gun violence.”

The letter was prompted by a latest interview Phillips did with Recent Air’s Terry Gross. When discussing damaging response to the darkish movie, the director mentioned, “We knew our intentions in making the film. It sort of bummed us out that it was so divisive. However it does appear to be that we dwell in an age of concern now and other people search for issues to be outraged about and they are going to be outraged nearly that remark, most likely. It is change into a factor. The excellent news is the film clearly struck a chord and other people have been having discussions about it and arguing about its deserves.”

Sandy and Lonnie Phillips additionally referred to as out Warner Bros. of their letter.

“We’re outraged as a result of within the face of such carnage, Warner Bros. continues to revenue from films that depict fictional acts of gun violence whereas donating to lawmakers and candidates who make it simpler for people to acquire firearms and commit acts of violence in the true world,” they proceed. “We’re outraged at your flippant and dismissive remarks about our very actual issues and we’re outraged that Warner Bros. has refused to fulfill with survivors of gun violence.”

In September, the couple, together with different households of victims from the Aurora taking pictures signed a letter to Warner Bros. expressing concern about Joker and asking the studio to donate to gun-victim charities.

Sandy and Lonnie proceed, “You instructed Terry Gross that you just have been joyful to see The Joker inspiring ‘discussions’ and arguments concerning the ‘actual world implications of violence.’ Nicely, we might love to debate what steps the leisure business can take to maintain its American audiences protected from gun violence and assist victims of that violence in the true world. When are you and Warner Bros. accessible to have interaction within the very dialog you declare your film is designed to spark?”

Warner Bros., which was additionally the studio behind The Darkish Knight Rises, issued a response defending the movie’s message final 12 months when the primary letter was circulated.

“Gun violence in our society is a essential challenge, and we prolong our deepest sympathy to all victims and households impacted by these tragedies. Our firm has a protracted historical past of donating to victims of violence, together with Aurora, and in latest weeks, our mother or father firm joined different enterprise leaders to name on policymakers to enact bipartisan laws to deal with this epidemic. On the identical time, Warner Bros. believes that one of many features of storytelling is to impress troublesome conversations round complicated points. Make no mistake: neither the fictional character Joker, nor the movie, is an endorsement of real-world violence of any type. It’s not the intention of the movie, the filmmakers or the studio to carry this character up as a hero.”

Throughout the Recent Air interview, Todd referred to as the backlash “worrying,” however mentioned, “Fortunately, most individuals noticed it for what it’s: a film about childhood trauma, a film concerning the lack of affection on this planet, a film concerning the lack of empathy in society. Most individuals noticed that for what it’s.”

He continued, “I am unable to let you know the quantity of emails or messages I obtained on my Instagram of individuals speaking about what an exquisite depiction of psychological sickness it’s. You realize, the factor that appeared to resonate most with individuals is when Arthur writes in his pocket book, ‘The worst half about having a psychological sickness is individuals anticipate you to behave as in case you do not.’ And that actually spoke to folks that have it.

“Since you’re struggling, however you are not sporting a solid. You are struggling, however you are not in a wheelchair. So individuals assume, what’s improper with you? You are high quality,” he added. “And I feel that actually related and resonated with individuals in a significant approach. In order that sort of factor makes it price it. Not that that erases all the things else. However, you realize, it related with the folks that it needed to join with.”

The criticism hasn’t slowed Joker down this awards season as the movie simply obtained 11 BAFTA nominations.

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