After families of the 2012 Aurora, Colorado mass shooting victims sent a letter to Warner Bros. expressing concern about gun violence in the Joker movie, the studio has responded in a statement. That act of domestic terrorism was referred to as “the Dark Knight shooting” and brought up questions about violence on screen. Unsurprisingly, Warner Bros. is standing by the film, adding that they care about the same cause. “Our company has a long history of donating to victims of violence, including Aurora,” the press release reads. “And in recent weeks, our parent company joined other business leaders to call on policymakers to enact bi-partisan legislation to address this epidemic.”
Here’s the full statement (via IndieWire):
Gun violence in our society is a critical issue, and we extend our deepest sympathy to all victims and families impacted by these tragedies. 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.
Previously, Joaquin Phoenix, who plays the new Joker, walked out of an interview with the Telegraph after being asked about the film’s potential to incite violence. Joker will hit theaters October 4 but will not be screened at the Aurora theater where the mass shooting took place.