Earlier in the week, we brought you the news that Joaquin Phoenix was caught avoiding questions regarding the influence the new film Joker may have on incel extremists looking to copy the lead character’s actions. It seems that this is not just a journalistic concern as now the US military has warned of violence at screenings of the film.
In 2012, at a screening of Batman film The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, a lone gunman entered the cinema and fired at will into the crowd. Yesterday, saw the families of those killed in the attack reach out to Warner Bros. about the potential effect the film could have on copycat killers. They went one step further to also encourage the studio to use their “political clout” to lobby for serious gun reform.
Now, the U.S. Army have confirmed that they have widely distributed a warning to cinemas showing the film after they and the FBI found social media posts related to Incel extremists.
An email was sent last week, in it service members were told to remain aware of their surroundings and try to always “identify two escape routes” when entering cinemas to watch the film. If the worst happened and a mass-shooting did occur, Gizmodo reports they were instructed to “run, hide, fight.”
“If you’re stuck, hide (also known as ‘sheltering in place’), and stay quiet. If a shooter finds you, fight with whatever you can.”
While the military has moved quickly to highlight the notice as a “precautionary measure” a separate note was put out on Monday after “credible” information from Texas law officials suggested there was “disturbing and very specific chatter” on the infamous dark web. It goes one further to state that the chatter included “the targeting of an unknown movie theater during the release”.
An Army spokesperson said: “We do this routinely because the safety and security of our workforce is paramount. We want our workforce to be prepared and diligent on personal safety both inside the workplace and out.”
The reference to ‘Incel’ is from a theory based in the ’90s and refers to “involuntarily celibate men” who have been marginalised and mocked in society. Their ethos has dramatically changed over time and has seen much of the community harbour violent tendencies and reactions to the world around them.
It is feared they will connect with the titular character who eventually uses violence to fight back against the people who hold him back. The army stated that Incels “idolise 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.”