Family members of the 2012 Aurora mass shooting victims have sent a letter to Warner Bros. expressing concern over the upcoming release of the studio’s comic book movie “Joker.” The letter was sent to Warner Bros. new CEO Ann Sarnoff and urges the Hollywood studio to advocate for gun safety in the midst of the promotional rollout for “Joker.” The families are not calling for a “Joker” boycott or ban and instead want Warner Bros. to come forward publicly advocating for gun safety laws.
“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,” the letter reads (via Variety). “We want to be clear that 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.”
The letter to Warner Bros. was signed by Sandy and Lonnie Phillips (who lost their 24-year-old daughter, Jessica Ghawi), Theresa Hoover (her 18-year-old son Alexander J. Boik was killed), Heather Dearman (her cousin lost a 6-year-old daughter and an unborn child), and Tiina Coon (whose son was a witness to the shootings). The letter states: “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.”
Twelve people were murdered and 70 injured on July 20, 2012 when a gunman opened fire on a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado showing Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises.” The upcoming “Joker” release is taking place in the aftermath of several 2019 mass shootings in America, including recent tragedies in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.
The letter asks Warner Bros. to do the following tasks: “End political contributions to candidates who take money from the NRA and vote against gun reform, use your political clout and leverage in Congress to actively lobby for gun reform, and Help fund survivor funds and gun violence intervention programs to help survivors of gun violence and to reduce every-day gun violence in the communities you serve.”
IndieWire has reached out to Warner Bros. for comment. Head over to Variety to read the letter in its entirety.