Relatives of Aurora Victims 'Horrified' by Joker Trailer

'such unnecessary violence ... chilled me to my bones,' says one victim's mom
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 25, 2019 4:17 AM CDT

(Newser) – Relatives of some of the 12 people killed in a mass shooting during a Batman movie in 2012 say they found the trailer for the new Joker movie disturbing—and they have asked Warner Bros. to help gun control causes. Sandy Phillips, whose daughter, Jessica Ghawi, was killed in the 2012 shooting in Aurora, Colo., tells the BBC that she was "absolutely horrified" by the trailer. "And then when I dug a little deeper and found out that it had such unnecessary violence in the movie, it just chilled me to my bones," she says. "It just makes me angry that a major motion picture company isn't taking responsibility and doesn't have the concern of the public at all." Phillips, her husband, and three other relatives told the studio they were alarmed to find out it was releasing a movie that "presents the character as a protagonist with a sympathetic origin story."

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The relatives asked the studio to join them in their fight "to build safer communities with fewer guns" by taking steps including supporting survivor programs and lobbying Congress for gun control laws. In a statement, the studio said it has a "long history of donating to victims of violence" and has asked lawmakers to enact bipartisan legislation on the issue, Mashable reports. "Make no mistake: neither the fictional character Joker, nor the film, is an endorsement of real-world violence of any kind," it said. The movie, starring Joaquin Phoenix, will be released Oct. 4. Director and co-writer Todd Phillips tells the AP that he's not sure why people are connecting it to the mass shooting during a showing of The Dark Knight Rises. "Aurora is obviously a horrible, horrible situation," he says. "But even that is not something you blame on the movie." (Read more Warner Bros. stories.)

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