After the threats of violence failed to prevent “Joker” from becoming a box office champion, critics of the hit movie have now focused on the fact it featured a song by convicted pedophile Gary Glitter — thus allowing him to collect comfortable royalties from the film’s success.
“Despite the film’s opening weekend success, the makers of the movie have stoked controversy for featuring Glitter’s 1972 hit ‘Rock and Roll Part 2’ in a lengthy scene,” reports CNBC. “The song plays for approximately two minutes as Joaquin Phoenix … dances down a long flight of steps outside his Gotham City apartment. Glitter, whose real name is Paul Gadd, is reportedly expected to receive a lump sum for allowing the recording to be used in ‘Joker’ … He is also thought to be in line for music royalties depending on the success of movie theater ticket sales, DVD sales, and film soundtrack sales.”
“The 75-year-old was jailed for a total of 16 years in 2015 for attempted rape, four counts of indecent assault and one count of having sex with a girl under 13,” the report continued. “All six offenses were committed in the 1970s and 1980s. He was first jailed in 1999, when he admitted to possessing images of child abuse.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, outrage over the film’s use of the song quickly erupted on social media, launching a debate about the ethics of using the work of an artist who is guilty of heinous crimes. The same debate occurred following the release of the documentary “Leaving Neverland,” in which pop icon Michael Jackson was accused of abusing two young boys for over a decade.
“Whatever my mixed feelings about ‘Joker,’ director Todd Phillips using a track by child abuser Gary Glitter over a key scene — in a film that uses child abuse as a plot device no less — is absolute bull***t,” said writer Simon Ragoonanan. “Gary Glitter gets royalties for Joker. They’re literally paying a paedophile to use his music in a movie about the consequences of child abuse. I’m off the fence — this movie is immoral bull***t.”
“Joker” is not the first film to feature Gary Glitter’s song; the 2004 film “Meet the Fockers” also used it.
As stated earlier, the controversy over the film’s use of the song echoes the debate about Michael Jackson’s music, given the harrowing allegations that were displayed in “Leaving Neverland.” The big difference, however, is that Glitter was actually convicted of a crime while Jackson has only been credibly accused of crimes.
Writing at The Guardian, columnist Suzanne Moore admitted to feeling so sickened by the revelations from “Leaving Neverland” that Michael Jackson was dead to her.
“As more and more awful, awful details emerge of boys who claim he abused them from the age of seven, I don’t know what box to put his music in any more. It doesn’t matter,” Moore said. “Sometimes we draw lines and it is way too late, but it has to be done. That is how cultural shifts happen. They happen when we say: No more. Enough.”
“In the scheme of things, not so sad,” she concluded. “There is so much magnificent music in the world; I won’t go without. He is properly dead to me now.”