Annabel Hennessy – The West Australian
Violent online threats being inspired by the new Joker movie should not be dismissed as trolling, according to online experts and anti-abuse campaigners who are worried the blockbuster could fuel anti-women extremists.
It comes as police in NSW are running patrols in Randwick, in Sydney’s east, after a threat was posted on the notorious internet forum 4Chan appearing to warn of a potential attack at a screening of the film at a popular cinema in the suburb.
In the US, security around cinemas has also been beefed up after fears the film’s graphic portrayal of a social outcast who commits violent crimes after being sexually rejected could inspire copy-cat attacks.
The movie, starring Joaquin Phoenix and directed by Todd Phillips, has been likened to Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver starring Robert De Niro.
Cyber safety expert Ross Bark said he was worried about parents allowing children to see the film thinking it would be similar to a more typical superhero flick.
“I don’t think anyone under the age of 18 should be seeing this film,” he said.
Curtin University senior lecturer in Literary and Cultural Studies Dr Christina Lee said it would go a long way for the cast and crew of the film to openly condemn violence and talk about how The Joker taps into the current climate of extreme divisiveness.
“ The film is a fictional representation of a comic book supervillain … not as an instructional video,” Dr Lee said.
“This, however, won’t stop certain people who identify as incels … using the movie as propaganda.”