“Joker” Controversy


Maverick Mendoza

WILL LIFE IMITATE ART? “Joker” has turned out to be the most controversial movie this year and has many people worried about the film’s effect on society. Some people believe that the film will inspire copycat behavior in the Incel community and cause mass shootings throughout the nation.

Pedro Martins, Staff Writer

The new DC film, “Joker,” recently opened in theatres and was met by a wave of controversy. Many people believe that the film will inspire a wave of violence and copycat behavior in much of the Incel Community, an online substructure of social outcasts responsible for many of the shootings that have occurred over the last couple of years. According to Thrillest, much of the controversy surrounding the film is due to the film’s violent nature, and its depiction of the main character, Arthur Fleck. While there is no denying that the film is violent, many of the protests against it have stirred up controversy of their own. Some people believe that the protests are misguided and were carried out inappropriately. NBA legend Kareem-Abdul Jabar published a story on the Hollywood Reporter that stated that the protests are walking the line between activism and passive distortion. He also stated that even though he is supportive of their goals of preventing violence, he believes that the “Joker” should not be the main focus of the Anti-gun violence activists. This situation has been continuously birthing more controversy in a redundant cycle of outrage.

No matter what one thinks about the “Joker” itself, one has to acknowledge that the claims of the protestors are somewhat valid and have some strong backing. A lot of the controversy around the “Joker” character this time around is due to the repercussions of the character’s last depiction in the 2008  filmhe Dark Knigh.t” It is well known that during the opening week of the “Dark Knight’s” sequel, “The Dark Knight Rises,” a mass gunman killed 12 people at a midnight showing of the film in Aurora, Colorado. This tragic event is the backing for many of the claims of  this new “Joker” film’s protestors, and it is perfectly valid to be cautious around the opening of this film. After all, the “Joker” is a crazed mass murderer and having the him be the main character is sure to have an affect on the audience. Freshman Mckenna Martin claimed the film’s depiction of the “Joker” is “not okay, especially with all the school shootings already happening.”

There is no doubt that there could be some validity to the protesters’ claim, but their problem with “Joker” specifically may be misguided and not the best battleground for their mission of anti-violence. At the end of the day, “Joker” is a movie. It is as an expressive piece of art made by people who poured their heart into it. The “Joker” is not making any specific claim, its goal is to tell a story. Because of this, it could be argued that the protesters are attempting to suppress the freedom of expression. Senior Cameron Dennis said that “anybody should express whatever they want, as long as they are not trying to purposely hurt somebody which I believe this movie is not.” The claim could also be made that the protesters are wasting time that could be used to address issues that are directly causing the wave of gun violence that the U.S. is currently going through. The fact of the matter is that their protests are not going to negatively affect the movie. In fact they will probably give the film more publicity, and any publicity could be seen as good. This effect is observable through the film’s current success at the box office; the film is already the highest grossing rated-R movie of all time and is still bringing in heaps of money for Warner Bros. Junior Riley Timko stated how the controversy surrounding the movie “is only going to make people want to see the movie more.” Sophomore Veeti Alatalo claimed that “people are going to hear about the controversy and want to see the film for themselves.” There are many events and organizations that the protesters should focus on in order to achieve their goal. The “Joker” is not one of these entities and protesting it is a waste of their time and effort.

The truth is that the “Joker” controversy is not going to do much in terms of correcting wrongs, but that does not mean that it is not socially valuable. Though the protests are misguided and borderline extortive, they demonstrate the fight against gun violence that could give us hope for the future, if they are held in ethical territories.