Family members of those killed at The Dark Knight Rises mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado have signed a letter to Warner Bros. regarding their concerns over the upcoming release of Joker.
"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," the letter, which was shared with The Hollywood Reporter, reads.
The shooting referenced took place on July 12, 2012, when James Holmes stormed the theater in Colorado during a screening of the superhero film, killing 12 people and injuring 70 more. The shooter was armed with multiple assault rifles and was wearing full body armor when he attacked.
The letter does not call for the movie's release to be canceled or for gun control advocates to implement a boycott. Instead, it asks for the studio to donate money to charities that aid those impacted by gun violence and to "end political contributions to candidates who take money from the NRA and vote against gun reform." The letter also urges Warner Bros. to "use [their] political clout and leverage in Congress to actively lobby for gun reform. Keeping everyone safe should be a top corporate priority for Warner Brothers."
Along with the letter, families of those killed are expressing concern over the new film and how it will impact their community and society at large.
"My worry is that one person who may be out there — and who knows if it is just one — who is on the edge, who is wanting to be a mass shooter, may be encouraged by this movie. And that terrifies me," said Sandy Phillips, whose 24-year-old daughter, Jessica Ghawi, was murdered in the shooting. She also added that film is a "like slap in the face."
The shooting took place at the Century Aurora and XD theater, which will not be showing the film when it releases on Oct. 4. Online tickets are not available at the location and, while the theater has not offered comment, an employee who works there confirmed that it will not be screened.
The letter is just the latest critique of the film leading up to its release, with some claiming that Joker will encourage violence and terror in an already tumultuous climate. Both director Todd Phillips and star Joaquin Phoenix have dismissed these claims, saying the concerns are unwarranted.
A Warner Bros. spokesperson says the studio has not yet received the letter, specifying that “We cannot comment on a letter we have not seen.”
Directed by Todd Phillips, Joker stars Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Bill Camp, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen, Glenn Fleshler, Douglas Hodge, Marc Maron, Josh Pais and Shea Whigham. The film arrives in theaters Oct. 4.