- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 26, 2019

Director Todd Phillips in a new interview slammed critics who argue his upcoming film “Joker” could inspire violence, saying it’s been “eye-opening” how the far left has embraced cancel culture.

“I’m surprised. … Isn’t it good to have these discussions?” Mr. Phillips told The Wrap in an interview published Wednesday. “Isn’t it good to have these discussions about these movies, about violence? Why is that a bad thing if the movie does lead to a discourse about it?”

Critics have accused “Joker,” starring Joaquin Phoenix, of promoting real-world violence and painting the notorious supervillain as a hero. Last week, families of the victims who were killed during a Batman movie at a theater in Aurora, Colorado, in 2012 wrote a letter to Warner Bros. demanding that the studio donate profits to gun-victim charities.

Warner Bros. defended the film, explaining in a statement that one of the functions of storytelling is to “provoke difficult conversations around complex issues.”

In his interview, Mr. Phillips lamented that outrage had become a “commodity,” and that both sides of the political aisle shared the blame. 

“What’s outstanding to me in this discourse in this movie is how easily the far left can sound like the far right when it suits their agenda,” he said. “It’s really been eye-opening for me.

“We didn’t make the movie to push buttons,” he said. “I literally described to Joaquin at one point in those three months as like, ‘Look at this as a way to sneak a real movie in the studio system under the guise of a comic book film.’ It wasn’t, ‘We want to glorify this behavior.’ It was literally like ‘Let’s make a real movie with a real budget and we’ll call it f–ing Joker.’ That’s what it was.”

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