Todd Phillips thinks the ‘far left’ is stoking outrage about the white violence of ‘Joker’

76th Venice Film Festival  - The Winners

I’ve been listening to and reading a lot of criticism for Joker, and I’ve been reading a lot of counter-arguments to the criticism. There is no “answer” to the quandary of “should we support a film which seems like an incel fantasy” or “what happens if this film inspires more white terrorism?” The answer for some people is “go see the movie and decide for yourselves.” The answer for other people is to just avoid this sh-t like the plague. I would never argue that artists need to stop making art. I will always argue that freedom to create art is not the same as freedom from consequences.

It’s not Christopher Nolan’s fault that the Aurora shooting happened, but given that 2012 incident, you would think that Warner Bros would be (literally) gun-shy, and nervous about Joker. You would think that they would be sending out director Todd Phillips to soothe people’s jagged nerves. Well, Todd Phillips got sent out. And he blamed the “far left” for, like, stoking “outrage” about his violent incel fantasy film. From Todd Phillips’ interview with The Wrap:

Phillips on his arty film: “We didn’t make the movie to push buttons. 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. “

On the discussions around the violence committed by white dudes in the film: “I’m surprised… Isn’t it good to have these discussions? 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?”

Phillips thinks the far-left is stoking outrage: “I think it’s because outrage is a commodity, I think it’s something that has been a commodity for a while. 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. It’s really been eye opening for me.”

[From The Wrap]

This is too cute by half: “Isn’t it good to have these discussions? Isn’t it good to have these discussions about these movies, about violence?” No one is picketing the film (it isn’t even in theaters yet). No one is banning the film (except for Aurora because… you know). We ARE having discussions and conversations and debates about this film based off the reviews coming out of Venice and TIFF, all of which pointed out the fact that the film often comes across as a violent incel fantasy which could incite white men to copycat. This is the discussion and yes, Todd, it’s good to have it. And then in the next breath, Phillips dismisses that discussion as just manufactured outrage by the far left. Yes, only the far left rabble-rousers are super-worried about… the sharp increase in terrorism committed by white men. He went from “these discussions are good” to “discussing this sh-t is for pansy liberals” in about a minute.

Joker red carpet premiere at TIFF 2019

Photos courtesy of WENN.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

45 Responses to “Todd Phillips thinks the ‘far left’ is stoking outrage about the white violence of ‘Joker’”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. DiegoInSF says:

    It’s scary all these male reviewers ranting everywhere to not give Joker a bad review, they harass the critics. It’s insane, it’s just a movie, if you want to see it, enjoy but who cares if a critic didn’t give it 5 stars. Also, it hasn’t been released and it has 9.5 stars on IMDb from thousands of voters, like they haven’t even seen it. Add some “far left” comments from the director and all the deplorables will go see it.

  2. hnmmom says:

    Well, I appreciate the conversation. But there’s no way I am going to give this movie a dime of our money. The whole thing unsettles me in this day and age, especially when I live in a gun crazy state.

    • Jensies says:

      Trying, for a minute, to figure out where you live and then realizing that though I live in a West Coast state that reliably goes blue, I also live in a “gun crazy state” and that literally every person in this country does because this is a disease that has infected the entire country…is awfully real and depressing for a Friday morning.

    • maisie says:

      It’s not going to get my money because I’m so over Joaquin Phoenix. I used to think he was a better actor than his older brother, but everything he’s done after Walk the Line has left me completely cold. Pair that with the crap he perpetrated with the other “standing in the shadow of a brother” buddy Casey Affleck, and I now give everything he’s in a hard pass.

      And don’t think all this controversy will hurt his Oscar chances in the least; Affleck managed to get a Best Actor Oscar after sexually harassing all those women, and last year they gave Best Picture to Green Book, a film which was grossly inaccurate at best and another exercise in “white saviorhood” at worst. Hollywood is full of secret Todd Phillipses, who all think the white man is getting a raw deal from women and minorities and use the awards to push back.

  3. jbyrdku says:

    The biggest takeaway for me, personally, is that the few ruin it for the many. It says a lot about the world today that people can’t see a movie without worrying they’ll be shot up while they’re in the theater.

  4. Mia4s says:

    I have no interest in seeing it. It looks depressing, and I’ve already seen Taxi Driver. 🙄

    “ sneak a real movie in”

    I’m amazed the dude bros have not picked up on this line. The guy is clearly saying comic book movies aren’t real movies. Hey guys, you know that Batman and Marvel stuff you so worship and revere? This guy thinks it’s bulls**t. Why are you defending him?

  5. Sierra says:

    Spoken like a true white privileged male.

    I like Phoenix but now I won’t see this one in the cinema.

    • Ann says:

      No kidding. “I appreciate the conversation, but only my side should get to speak.”

      If he actually appreciated the discussion, he wouldn’t brush off his critics as extremists.

  6. Betsy says:

    I haven’t seen Joker, nor will I, for I must say say that I ascribe to the views of twitter personality @ohnoshetwitnt. I don’t need to see the process of an entitled white man becoming radicalized. It doesn’t seem to take much for those delicate goose down feathers to snap.

    Shallowly, I will say: look at his weaselly little face. That is the face of a man who thinks he’s cuter and smarter than he is and he thinks we all want to be with him. He’s not interested in legitimate criticism, because he knows better than us all. Pr!ck.

  7. BlueSky says:

    I mean, we can’t allow people who have been traumatized by gun violence or lost someone in mass shootings to get in the way of our bottom line 🙄🙄

  8. Marty says:

    He also complained about why no one was being critical of John Wick. Which demonstrates Phillips not only doesn’t know anything about those movies, but he’s also completely ignorant when it comes to societal issues as well.

    Between him, and Phoenix walking out if that interview, now I’m not going to see this movie because these dudes are clueless a**holes.

  9. Heylee says:

    These are not the white Male tears that I believe we need to pay attention to in order to address the actual concern underlying this film. Putting this movie out right now during this cultural moment might be one of the more irresponsible acts I can think of. Anyone think that seeing a film representative of your life/ feelings isn’t going to embolden certain angry isolated Male people?

  10. Michael says:

    I hope Phillips realizes that his take will cost him Academy votes when the time comes. I assume they positioned this as an award winner but ducking the conversation will allow others to shape it.

  11. HAD says:

    “I will always argue that freedom to create art is not the same as freedom from consequences.” God, I love you guys. This is why Celebitchy is more than a gossip blog or a place to see pretty people wear pretty clothes. It is a thoughtful critique of popular culture and it’s impact on our society. It’s snark with compassion. This and Pajiba restore my faith in humanity.

    Sorry that was a little hokey, but you are just going to have to tolerate it today. I needed a little bit of the good people stuff today. I need someone to hold people accountable and say stuff matters still. Y’all delivered.

  12. Patty says:

    I’ve seen the movie. It’s actually pretty meh, in my opinion. The movie does not seek to justify the Joker’s behavior but rather explain it. I think all the attention it’s getting it’s ridiculous and will probably lead to higher box office numbers because a number of people will see it now simply to spite “the left”. As far violence, the violence level is no higher or lower than any other movie churned out these days. In fact I’ve seen a number of movies relatively recently where the acts of violence made me more squeamish than The Joker.

    • Elisa says:

      +1, the whole movie sounds so meh and I never found the Joker a particularly interesting character. And on a shallow note: Phoenix is mega unattractive.

  13. Katen says:

    I was worried this was going to be a movie about putting the blame for a white mans violence on all the people who weren’t nice enough to him.

    Reading this, now I’m certain of it. He’s blaming violence on the people who are worried about it and talking about it, rather than the men who are doing it.

  14. Rapunzel says:

    Anyone who uses terms like “the far left” is likely a Fox News brainwashed moron. I automatically dismiss his entire comments due to his nonsense word choice and its implied bias.

    • Steff says:


    • Annabel says:

      Todd Phillips seems like an idiot, but I’m going to respectfully disagree with you regarding the term “far left…” I vote Democrat 99% of the time and find Fox News f*cking deplorable, but I’ve been known to use the term “far left” on occasion. Obviously there’s no moral equivalence between the far left and the far right, since the latter = fascism, but I’ve spent enough time on Twitter to be fairly certain that there are deranged ideologues at both ends of the political spectrum.

  15. Emmet says:

    Hey Todd, make this movie for Netflix or Amazon and you won’t have to worry about the issue with the potential violence at the theaters.

    Those two can pad a budget as much as the other studios.

  16. Maria says:

    Okaaay they just made it so I am going to download instead of pay to see it. Nice work Todd!

  17. Leriel says:

    “Look at this as a way to sneak a real movie in the studio system under the guise of a comic book film” – this line was told by the director of Hangover trilogy.

    Christopher Nolan is not guilty in Aurora shooting, but he never argued that TDK has nothing to do with that. That’s the difference between creator and someone who’s trying to breakthrough: creator understands consequences of theirs creation, and someone who just wants to pose with Oscar, defenses themselves because he sees that campaign isn’t going like he wanted.

  18. TQB says:

    I also appreciate the conversation, but I would appreciate it more if Phillips had come out and said “I get the concern, please go see the film, because what I intended was discourse.” Because it’s not just that freedom of expression isn’t freedom consequences; part of creating the art is welcoming the consequences. A true artist making this film would fear only that people won’t see it because of their concerns – not that they have those concerns.

    I’m not just sick of people blaming outrage as a commodity, i’m sick of people posing as artists when they aren’t prepared to walk the fucking walk.

  19. kerwood says:

    I live in Toronto and I woke up this morning and saw that the interrogation tape of Toronto’s very own ‘incel’ terrorist has been released. It seems that this killer had hoped to spark an ‘incel’ revolution. Too bad he didn’t consider that it would mean his target audience would have to turn off their computers and leave their parent’s basements to get the revolution started. Back when I was a girl, men like this were called LOSERS. Now they have a political movement? What kind of world do we live in?

    These people are dangerous. This killer drove a van on to a crowded sidewalk. He aimed at women and one of his victims was a woman in her 80s.

    Todd Phillips is talking shit about the ‘far left’ because he knows the audience for this movie probably won’t be people who are left of centre. This guy hasn’t directed anything of any consequence before. He not only has a movie to sell but a career to build and he clearly doesn’t care how he does it. A responsible and INTELLIGENT director would talk about how this movie could offer insight and start a conversation about how these men (it’s ALWAYS men) turn into monsters. But he and the studio are just interested in ‘thrills and chills’. A THINKING audience is a DANGEROUS audience because they might see the flaws.

    I wasn’t sure I was going to see this film. But after this morning, I have no intention of giving a penny of my money to anyone concerned with it. Maybe I’ll check it out when it comes to my local library. And I will make a point of avoiding Todd Phillips films FOREVER.

  20. Dr Mrs The Monarch says:

    Art is supposed to make an impact on the viewer. If there were some sort of message or commentary on violence and mental health within the film, then it is justified.

    Unfortunately, this just sounds like pretentious fools claiming that the general-superhero-loving-public are too dumb to understand a movie that tries to justify evil.

    Let’s be clear here: the JOKER is a well-known character. He represents violence, mayhem and anarchy. He is NOT misunderstood. Anyone who tries to make him any kind of hero and calls it “art” has completely misunderstood or ignored the source material.

  21. The Original Mia says:

    I’m not wasting my money on this movie. It’s nothing more than a guide to why white men feel entitled to everything in the world and react badly when it doesn’t happen. Nope. Hard pass.

  22. Lasagna Jones says:

    It isn’t the far left stoking unrealistic fears. Got an email yesterday re National Situational InformationReport on behalf of fbi “intended to raise awareness about individuals sharing threatening online posts calling for unspecific mass shootings at showings of the movie ‘Joker’” by the involuntary celebate community. I had to explain to a colleague about incels.


  23. Marisse says:

    So the parents of Aurora victims that spoke out about it are just fueled by that ‘far left outrage’, right, Generic White Male Director Todd Philips?

    would love for him to have to face those family members face to face and repeat what he said.

    It’s hilarious Hollywood says it’s trying to change. Everyday it’s another white male director saying dumb sh/t, getting green lit projects like that *snap* despite often bomb after bomb, & it’s all whine whine whine. OVER IT.

    • TQB says:

      Oh and also the FBI and the US military – they’ve issued warnings. But you know the military – just a bunch of far left patsies, amiright? /s

  24. Valerie says:

    It isn’t part of a far-left agenda, you insensitive eejit. The people voicing their concerns are parents who lost, or nearly lost, their children in the Aurora shooting!

  25. VintageS says:

    On a total shallow side note, Todd Philips looks so much like a young Donald Sutherland.

    No way in hades in my going to see this. My 21 year old son is even a little dubious about this as well.

  26. isadora says:

    Prequel movies where they explains the origins of the villain never really turn out well. We had movies about a young Michael Myers, 3 prequel movies about whiny Anakin Skywalker who becomes Darth Vader, a young Leatherface, a young Hannibal Lecter and what not. (Note: i said movies not tv shows. I’m sure i’m going to be thrown with “but Bates motel was good” or ” Hannibal the tv show was fantastic”.)
    Gosh, if there’s 1 thing Hollywood good at it’s milking the cow dry until there’s no life inside of it.

    The Joker is overrated. It has been done better before. If you want to see a movie that comments about American celebrity/fan culture watch The King of Comedy starring Robert de Niro, Sandra Bernhard and Jerry Lewis. A far better movie overall rather than this soulless corporate WB product.

  27. isadora says:

    I would also would like to remind mr Phillips also that it were incels and rightwing online dweebs who talked down, harrassed and tried to boycot Wonder woman and Captain Marvel and failed miserably. And the whole Aurora shooting was devastating. But this shithead has no tact or empathy to understand that the current climate under which we’re now in our thanks to fatso Hitler puts even more fuel to this fire. I’m very much afraid of another mass shooting.

  28. Div says:

    Ugh. He sounds like such a pr*ck, and while I can somewhat understand being critical of the idea that entertainment is to blame for f*cked up people’s actions, this was not the way to handle it.

  29. GMonkey says:

    There was a guest on the Daily Zeitgeist podcast who says that she pays to see excellent films featuring women and people of color. When it’s over, she sneaks into whatever dumb guy movie she wants to see so that she has the background to comment on it, but didn’t pay to see it. She even pays multiple times to see the movie she wants to support and then sees the other movie. She’s paid to see Hustlers 3X.

    Most of the theaters near me have assigned recliner seats so it would be a little difficult for me to do that. I suppose that I could use my 45 year old white privilege to act befuddled if it turns out that I’m in someone else’s seat. It’s a pretty weak-sauce way to use privilege to support others without it, but I try to do other stuff, too.

    • Ani says:

      Okay , that’s kinda brilliant! I would and have done that, but Id suggest any American avoid seeing this movie at a theatre. Ironically, if any incels get trigger happy, they’ll probably take out a bunch of other incels.

  30. tealily says:

    “Isn’t it good to have these discussions?”… and yet everyone involved with this film seems so unprepared to HAVE this discussion. Yes, it’s good to have this discussion. I’d love to hear more about what they’re exploring with this “real movie.”

    • Naddie says:

      Lol exactly. One leaves for 1 hour after a question, the other one says the discussion comes from “the far left”.