The U.S. Army Base at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, has warned commanders of a potential threat of violence at an upcoming showing of Warner Bros.’ “Joker,” citing an intelligence bulletin about “a credible potential mass shooting to occur at an unknown movie theater.”
The memo, sent on Monday, became public after it was later posted to a Facebook page popular with enlisted Air Force personnel, Stars and Stripes reported. It cites an intelligence bulletin posted by the Travis County, Texas, sheriff’s office working with the local FBI field office, which it says discovered “disturbing and very specific chatter on the dark web.”
“Commanders need to be aware of this threat for Soldier and family safety and to increase situational awareness should they choose to attend the release of this movie,” the memo says.
The memo does not specify the theater that was threatened, or if it was in Oklahoma, Texas, or some other location. Fort Sill is located near Lawton, a city in southwestern Oklahoma. It is about 90 miles from Oklahoma City, and 197 miles from Dallas, Texas.
Meanwhile, U.S. military personnel nationwide received an unrelated memo from U.S. Army leadership on Tuesday, warning soldiers that “Posts on social media have made reference to involuntary celibate (“incel”) extremists replicating the 2012 theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, at screenings of the ‘Joker’ movie at nationwide theaters,” iO9 reported.
That memo, according to iO9, explained that “Incels are individuals who express frustration from perceived disadvantages to starting intimate relationships,” who “idolize violent individuals like the Aurora movie theater shooter.”
The memo, as quoted by iO9, cautions military personnel to “identify two escape routes, remain aware of your surroundings, and… Run if you can. If you’re stuck, hide (also referred to as “sheltering in place”), and stay quiet. If a shooter finds you, fight with whatever you can.”
Representatives of the U.S. Army did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TheWrap.
“Joker,” starring Joaquin Phoenix and directed by Todd Phillips, received mostly rave reviews after it screened at the Venice and Toronto Film festivals, but as details of the plot have become widely known, critics have expressed concern that the film paints a sympathetic portrayal of a psychopathic murderer. Most recently, five family members of victims who died in the 2012 Aurora shooting urged Warner Bros. to make a donation to charities that support victims of gun violence.
The family members did not call for the film to be pulled from theaters, however. And in a response, Warner Bros. said in a statement that “gun violence in our society is a critical issue, and we extend our deepest sympathy to all victims and families impacted by these tragedies. Our company has a long history of donating to victims of violence, including Aurora, and in recent weeks, our parent company joined other business leaders to call on policymakers to enact bi-partisan legislation to address this epidemic.”
The company also said it “believes that one of the functions of storytelling is to provoke difficult conversations around complex issues. Make no mistake: neither the fictional character Joker, nor the film, is an endorsement of real world violence of any kind. It is not the intention of the film, the filmmakers or the studio to hold this character up as a hero.”