A Washington man’s guns were seized by local authorities after he posted a series of threats on social media, in which he posed with guns and made references to the Joaquin Phoenix Joker film.
As reported by KOMO News, an all-news Sinclair-owned AM station, an unidentified 23-year-old male in the Seattle suburb of Redmond made “concerning Twitter posts posing with weapons and referencing the Joker movie,” police said.
KIRO 7 reports police confiscated six guns from his home on October as part of an Extreme Risk Protection Order. However, KOMO News reports police discovered eight weapons.
The Order read in part:
“The [man’s] threats of recent mass violence coupled with a history of prior threats to harm and kill women, demonstrate that [he] is a risk to public safety if he is allowed to continue to purchase, possess or access firearms”
He “had previous disturbing and threatening social media posts toward women” dating as far back as 2017, said the Redmond police petition for the Order.
The troubling posts popped up on the department’s radar last week. One, a photo, was made on Sept. 26 of him showing off two AK-47’s, one held in each hand, pointed to the sky. Redmond police report the caption read, “One ticket for joker please.”
More photos display “guns in his home, tucked into his waistband, or displayed in wooded areas.” Other images tipping the police off showed high capacity magazines filled with rifle rounds. He claimed in one of the suspicious posts that he used gun kits to scrub the serial numbers off weapons, making them “ghost guns.”
KIRO 7 reports the man obtained a concealed carry license in May. However, they report the license has since been revoked.
All guns were removed from his house “without incident.” In the petition for their EPO, Redmond authorities said:
“With the upcoming release of the movie that (suspect) indicated he would bring firearms to, the Redmond Police are troubled that moviegoers may be at risk of serious injury or death if (suspect) continues to have access, possession or ability to purchase firearms.”
Joker fell under scrutiny leading up to its release for its violence and themes. Family members of the victims in the 2012 Aurora, Colorado theater shooting sent a letter to Ann Sarnoff, Warner Bros’. new CEO, urging her to support gun reform. The US Army, fearing copycat attacks, sent out a mass email warning people about incel shooters, though they had “no known specific credible threats.”
The New York Police Department took the potential threats, credible or not, seriously and stationed uniformed and undercover officers at theaters for the safety of moviegoers. KOMO reported last week similar measures were taken in the Seattle area and Los Angeles.
Star Joaquin Phoenix and director Todd Phillips balked at the bad rap their film was getting and the charges Joker’s violence would inspire acts of terror. Phoenix walked out of a Telegraph interview when asked about it but later told IGN:
“I think if you have somebody that has that level of emotional disturbance, they can find fuel anywhere. I just don’t think that you can function that way.”
Phillips slammed the criticism as “bizarre,” comparing it to the backlash Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing received. He thinks some writers “haven’t even seen the movie” and believe “they don’t need to” and urged them “to watch it with an open mind.”
Joker is now in theaters.