The U.S. Army sent a warning about the new Joaquin Phoenix film “Joker,” saying there is a possibility of mass shootings during theater screenings, according to a report.
In an email last week, marked “for official use only,” Army officials said that members of the armed service need to “identify two escape routes” and should be prepared to “run, hide, [or] fight” if a shooting took place, reported Gizmodo.
“Run if you can,” the message stated. “If you’re stuck, hide (also known as ‘sheltering in place’), and stay quiet. If a shooter finds you, fight with whatever you can.”
The Army confirmed to the left-leaning technology website that sent out the warning after social media posts made by “incel” extremists, referring to the portmanteau of the “involuntary celibate” subculture.
It added that alleged incels “idolize the Joker character, the violent clown from the Batman series, admiring his depiction as a man who must pretend to be happy, but eventually fights back against bullies.”
A spokesperson for the Army said the warning to service members isn’t anything special.
“We want our workforce to be prepared and diligent on personal safety both inside the workplace and out,” the spokesperson told the news outlet.
Meanwhile, Century Aurora and XD—the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, targeted by a mass shooting during “The Dark Knight Rises”—will not show “Joker” when it premiers on Oct. 4, reported The Hollywood Reporter.
It came as family members of the victims killed during the 2012 mass shooting signed a letter sent to Warner Bros, which is producing the film. In the shooting, James Holmes opened fire with several guns in the theater, killing 12 and injuring dozens more.
“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,” reads the letter.
Phoenix, who plays the lead role in the movie, spoke to IGN this week about whether the movie will inspire violence.
“Well, I think that, for most of us, you’re able to tell the difference between right and wrong,” Phoenix said. “And those that aren’t are capable of interpreting anything in the way that they may want to. People misinterpret lyrics from songs. They misinterpret passages from books. So I don’t think it’s the responsibility of a filmmaker to teach the audience morality or the difference between right or wrong. I mean, to me, I think that that’s obvious.”
Director Todd Phillips, meanwhile, said the movie makes “statements about a lack of love, childhood trauma, and lack of compassion in the world.”
He continued: “I think people can handle that message. It’s so, to me, bizarre when people say, ‘Oh, well I could handle it. But imagine if you can’t.’ It’s making judgments for other people and I don’t even want to bring up the movies in the past that they’ve said this about because it’s shocking and embarrassing when you go, oh my God, ‘Do the Right Thing,’ they said that about [that movie, too].”
Departing from the typical superhero movie style, “Joker” was influenced by Stanley Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange” and Martin Scorsese’s “Taxi Driver,” according to early reviews of the film.