Says a Warner Bros. rep: “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.“
Earlier today, a letter obtained by the rival Hollywood trades, addressed to Warner Media Chairperson and CEO Ann Sarnoff, was issued from five family members who were impacted by the July 20, 2012 Dark Night Rises shootings at the Century 16 (a Cinemark) in Aurora: Sandy and Lonnie Phillips who lost their daughter Jessica Ghawi; Theresa Hoover who lost her 18-year-old son Alexander J. Boik; Heather Dearman, whose cousin Ashley Moser, lost an unborn child and a 6-year-old daughter in the attack; and Tiina Coon, whose son witnessed the shootings.
The five family members, who are not speaking on behalf of all the victims, called on Warners, “to use your massive platform and influence to join us in our fight to build safer communities with fewer guns.”
Following the 2012 massacre, Warner Bros. donated $2 million to the victims and the survivors of the Aurora shooting.
Although reports surfaced soon after the Dark Knight Rises shooting in the media that the gunman was inspired by the Joker character, that was proven false in evidence presented in court by the shooter’s own words to a psychiatrist.
Both Warner Bros. and Cinemark decided that Joker, which follows a disturbed outsider who gets hold of a gun and causes havoc in Gotham, will not play at the Cinemark Aurora Century Theater, the site where the Dark Knight Rises shootings occurred.