‘Joker’ director Todd Phillips called out by Aurora shooting victims for dismissing film’s violence

The filmmaker recently said that he was "kind of bummed out" that 'Joker' had proven to be "so divisive"

Parents of one of the victims killed in the 2012 Aurora shooting have written an open letter condemning Joker director Todd Phillips for dismissing the film’s violence.

Sandy and Lonnie Phillips (no relation to the filmmaker) lost their daughter Jessica in the tragedy that took place during a screening of The Dark Knight Rises.

“We are not outraged about The Joker because it has become a ‘thing’ to ‘look for things to be outraged about,’” the couple begin after directly addressing director Phillips.


They continue by explaining they are “outraged because in 2012 our daughter Jessica Ghawi was murdered by an individual who was easily able to obtain firearms and ammunition in Aurora, Colorado.

“We are outraged because in the face of such carnage, Warner Bros continues to profit from movies that depict fictional acts of gun violence while donating to lawmakers and candidates who make it easier for individuals to obtain firearms and commit acts of violence in the real world.”

Todd Phillips recently shared his thoughts on the controversy surrounding Joker in an interview with Fresh Air’s Terry Gross.

“We knew our intentions in making the movie. It kind of bummed us out that it was so divisive,” said Phillips. “But it does seem to be that we live in an age of outrage now, and people look for things to be outraged about and they’re going to be outraged just about that comment, probably.

“It’s become a thing,” Phillips continued. “The good news is the movie obviously struck a chord and people were having discussions about it and arguing about its merits.”


Joker continues to thrive in awards season despite the controversy, with the film leading this year’s BAFTA nominations with 11 nods.


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