The man who disrupted an October 27 screening of “Joker” in Paris is being investigated for advocating terrorism, Variety reports. A spokesperson for the Paris prosecutor’s office told Variety the man stood up during the “Joker” movie screening and shouted “God is great” in Arabic. Prior to shouting, the man was heard saying out loud “C’est politique (It’s political)” at multiple times during the movie. The man caused a panic at the theater, with 30 moviegoers rushing to the exit. The man escaped after several moviegoers and security guards attempted to stop him, but he was later arrested near Paris’ Grand Rex.
The Paris prosecutor’s office says the man attended the screening with a friend. Sources tell Variety several moviegoers were robbed during the panic, so authorities are now “looking into whether the incident was orchestrated by the man and an accomplice as a robbery scheme.” The morning after being arrested the man was sent to a psychiatric hospital. The man is now being sued by the Grand Rex movie theater and being investigated by the French prosecutor’s office on the suspicion of advocating terrorism. Police confirm no other “Joker” screenings have been disrupted in Paris.
Prior to the U.S. release of “Joker” earlier this month, some film critics worried the movie might encourage moviegoers to commit acts of violence, be it at screenings or afterwords. One Los Angeles theater temporally closed during the film’s opening weekend after receiving a credible threat, but other than that no “Joker” screenings have been targeted by violence. The movie has flourished at the worldwide box office, grossing over $850 million and counting to become the highest grossing R-rated release in history (unadjusted for inflation).
Both “Joker” director Todd Phillips and actor Joaquin Phoenix have defended the film against claims it would incite violence. Speaking at the New York Film Festival, Phillips asked the audience, “Isn’t it a good thing to put real-world implications on violence? Isn’t that a good thing to take away the cartoon element of violence that we’ve become so immune to? I was a little surprised when it turns into that direction, that it seems irresponsible because to me it seems actually very responsible to make it feel real and make it that weight.”
“Joker” is now playing in theaters worldwide.