Glorifying violence, dodgy politics, the use of a paedophile’s music: Joker has had no shortage of controversy since it hit cinemas.
Todd Phillips’ film chronicles the origin story of the legendary Batman foe, seeing his traversal from lonely, mentally-ill man to lord of a violent, city-wide movement.
Among the many complaints the film attracted, one stuck out: the use of Gary Glitter’s music.
Check out the trailer for Joker below:
In one of the film’s most prominent scenes, Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) dances and prances down a set of stairs to the rhythm of Glitter’s Rock & Roll Part 2.
The instrumental 1972 smash-hit tune has featured in films before – such as Happy Gilmore – as well as being used at US sporting events.
However, Glitter – real name Paul Gadd – was jailed in 2015 for 16 years, for sexually abusing three young girls between 1975 and 1980. As per the BBC, he was sentenced for attempted rape, four counts of indecent assault and one of having sex with a girl under 13.
Following Joker‘s release, reports emerged the disgraced rockstar would receive royalties from the film – sparking criticism and boycotts from viewers.
Twitter user @hooperstarium wrote: ‘Dancing with the Devil … I will pass on paying to see #JokerMovie until they remove convicted pedophile Gary Glitter’s song or donate royalties from it to a child abuse charity. C’mon @wbpictures what the ‘hell’ were you thinking when you green lighted this flick?’
However, it would appear the reports were false: Glitter won’t receive any financial reward for the use of the song in Joker.
As reported by the Los Angeles Times, the former singer-musician sold his rights to the recording and publishing of Rock & Roll Part 2 to Snapper Music in 1997, a London-based label that now owns Glitter’s master recordings.
As per the Los Angeles Times, an anonymous spokesperson for Snapper Music said:
Gary Glitter does not get paid. We’ve had no contact with him. People generally come to us… we don’t promote it at all.
A spokesman for Universal Music Publishing Group, which owns the rights to Glitter’s songs in the US, said:
Gary Glitter’s publishing interest in the copyright of his songs is owned by UMPG and other parties, therefore UMPG does not pay him any royalties or other considerations.
However, despite the fact he won’t earn anything from the song’s usage in Joker, Warner Bros. bosses are allegedly looking into erasing it from home releases.
According to The Sun, Phillips has been part of talks regarding the song choice after the large backlash.
Currently aged 75, Glitter isn’t expected to be released from prison for at least another decade.
Joker is in cinemas now.
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After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BCTJ-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He’s now left his Scottish homelands and took up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.