US Army Warns Against Incel Violence During ‘Joker’ Screening
The US Army has issued a warning to service members about the potential threat of mass shootings at screenings of Warner Bros’ Joker, which releases worldwide on 4 October. Gizmodo reports that an email dated 18 September asked service members to take precautionary measures when entering theatres. In the event of a shooting they were instructed to “Run if you can. If you’re stuck, hide, and stay quiet. If a shooter finds you, fight with whatever you can.”
The memo, from a 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 by incels. Short for ‘involuntary celibate’, the term incel has been adopted by a community of men who bond over their inability to attract women, some of whom advocate violent misogyny.
“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. However, it was later removed from the Facebook page.
Directed by The Hangover’s Todd Phillips, Joker stars Joaquin Phoenix in the title role. Since the trailer launched, the film has been criticised for its apparent sympathetic portrayal of an outcast who turns to violence in the face of loneliness.
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, The Dark Knight Rises, penned an open letter to Warner Bros expressing concern over the Joker trailer and calling them to take action against gun violence.
“When we learned that Warner Bros was releasing a movie called Joker that presents the character as a protagonist with a sympathetic origin story, it gave us pause. We support your right to free speech and free expression. But as anyone who has ever seen a comic book movie can tell you: with great power comes great responsibility. That's why we're calling on you to use your massive platform and influence to join us in our fight to build safer communities with fewer guns,” it read.
Warner Bros responded with a statement saying, the studio has “a long history of donating to victims of violence”, including the 2012 cinema shooting in Aurora, Colorado and that “neither the fictional character Joker, nor the film, is an endorsement of real-world violence of any kind.” and It is not the intention of the film, the filmmakers or the studio to hold this character up as a hero.”
Joker releases in India on 2 October.
(With inputs from Gizmodo, IANS)
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