Family members of those killed in the July 20th, 2012, mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado, in which a lone gunman fired on a movie theater audience during a screening of The Dark Knight Rises, have signed a letter to Warner Bros. voicing their concerns over the studio’s upcoming film, Joker, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The letter does not demand the studio cancel the film, nor does it call for a boycott, but it does urge Warner Bros. to donate to advocacy and aid groups for victims of gun violence. “We are calling on you to be a part of the growing chorus of corporate leaders who understand that they have a social responsibility to keep us all safe,” the letter states.
Elsewhere, the letter calls on Warner Bros. CEO Ann Sarnoff to “end political contributions to candidates who take money from the NRA and vote against gun reform” and “use your political clout and leverage in Congress to actively lobby for gun reform. Keeping everyone safe should be a top corporate priority for Warner Brothers.”
A representative for Warner Bros. told THR they had not received the letter and therefore could not comment on it.
Survivors and family members of victims have taken issue with Joker, both for its R-rated depictions of violence and its connection to James Holmes, who carried out the Aurora shooting seven years ago. Holmes murdered 12 people and injured 70 at the Aurora Cinemark theater during a screening of Christopher Nolan’s film, and he supposedly claimed that he “was the Joker” upon arrest in a now-debunked report. But his bright dyed hair and manic expression still drew comparisons to the Batman villain in the media during the days following the shooting.
“I don’t need to see a picture of [Holmes]; I just need to see a Joker promo and I see a picture of the killer,” Sandy Phillips (no relation to Joker director Todd Phillips) said. Her daughter Jessica Ghawi was among those killed in the shooting. “My worry is that one person who may be out there — and who knows if it is just one — who is on the edge, who is wanting to be a mass shooter, may be encouraged by this movie. And that terrifies me.”
Century Aurora and XD, the remodeled theater at the site of the shooting, will apparently not be screening the film. As of Tuesday, no showtimes are listed for Joker on the theater’s website, and a theater employee told THR that the film would not be showing at the venue.