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Home / Hollywood / US Army issues internal warning against potential violence at Joker screenings

US Army issues internal warning against potential violence at Joker screenings

The United States military has issued a warning to their commanders over possible incel violence and shootings at the screenings of Todd Phillips’ upcoming movie, Joker.

hollywood Updated: Sep 26, 2019, 15:14 IST
Indo Asian News Service
Joker is about a man who turns to violence after feeling rejected and bullied his whole life.
Joker is about a man who turns to violence after feeling rejected and bullied his whole life.

The US Army has reportedly issued a warning to military commanders over the potential threat of violence during screenings of the upcoming film Joker. The memo, from US Army Base at Fort Sill Oklahoma, was shared by users on a popular Air Force Facebook page and revealed that a bulletin posted by the Texas Joint Crime Information Center - working alongside the FBI - had discovered “disturbing and very specific chatter in the dark web” about the possible targeting for a mass shooting, reports Metro.co.uk.

“Commanders need to be aware of this threat for soldier and family safety and to increase situational awareness should they choose to attend the release of this movie,” the memo read. Hoever, it was later removed from the Facebook page.

This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Joaquin Phoenix in a scene from Joker, in theaters on October 2.
This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Joaquin Phoenix in a scene from Joker, in theaters on October 2. ( AP )

The notice, obtained by Gizmodo, said:

Team,

Posts on social media have made reference to involuntary celibate (“incel”) extremists replicating the 2012 theatre shooting in Aurora, Colorado, at screenings of the Joker movie at nationwide theatres. This presents a potential risk to DOD personnel and family members, though there are no known specific credible threats to the opening of the Joker on 4 October.

Incels are individuals who express frustration from perceived disadvantages to starting intimate relationships. Incel extremists idolize violent individuals like the Aurora movie theatre shooter. They also idolize the Joker character, the violent clown from the Batman series, admiring his depiction as a man who must pretend to be happy, but eventually fights back against his bullies.

When entering theatres, identify two escape routes, remain aware of your surroundings, and remember the phrase “run, hide, fight.” Run if you can. If you’re stuck, hide (also referred to as “sheltering in place”), and stay quiet. If a shooter finds you, fight with whatever you can.

** this is a condensed version of an HQ Army Materiel Command, G-3, Protection Division Security message **

Zazie Beetz, actor Joaquin Phoenix and director Todd Phillips (L to R) attend a photocall for the film Joker during the 76th Venice International Film Festival.
Zazie Beetz, actor Joaquin Phoenix and director Todd Phillips (L to R) attend a photocall for the film Joker during the 76th Venice International Film Festival. ( Xinhua )

The Todd Phillips film is set to release in a few days. Despite garnering good pre-release reports after being screened at the Venice Film Festival recently, it has been mired in controversy.

The film is being criticised for its sympathetic portrayal of an outcast who turns to gun violence in the face of perceived loneliness. Many families of the victims who died in 2012 in Aurora, Colorado after a gunman open fired at the local cinema during a showing of the Batman film, Dark Knight Rises, penned an open letter to Warner Bros calling them to take action against gun violence.

A fan at the screening of the film Joker at Venice Film Festival.
A fan at the screening of the film Joker at Venice Film Festival. ( REUTERS )

“Gun violence in our society is a critical issue, and we extend our deepest sympathy to all victims and families impacted by these tragedies,” reads the statement. “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.”

Joker is scheduled to release in India on October 2.

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