Joker, a boring movie we’ve spent entirely too much time talking about at this point, has rightfully come under fire for prominently featuring “Rock n’ Roll Part 2,” a song performed by sex offender Gary Glitter.
Todd Phillips' Joker is a complex movie. As we've already seen, it's also a divisive movie. Some question the thought process and ideation behind the movie, citing rampant gun violence and the rise of the "incel movement" as reasons it shouldn't have been made in the first place.Read more
Glitter (real name Paul Gadd) is currently serving a 16-year prison sentence for “attempted rape, four counts of indecent assault and one of having sex with a girl under 13.” Glitter’s convicted sex offences (which are numerous) date back to 1997. Warner Bros. could have easily avoided this bit of controversy by simply not including the song in the film, but apparently, someone felt as if it was absolutely necessary, and so here we are.
Initially, there were concerns that Glitter would profit from the song’s inclusion in the film, which continues to dominate at the box office. The chatter has now prompted Snapper Music, the label that owns the rights to “Rock n’ Roll Part 2,” to issue a statement making clear that Glitter himself isn’t making any money courtesy of the clown movie.
What’s important to understand is that Glitter sold the rights to his discography to Snapper a number of years ago, and thus the label is now responsible for how — if at all — the music is ever used. Speaking with the Los Angeles Times, a representative from Snapper Music stated:
“Gary Glitter does not get paid. We’ve had no contact with him.”
In the U.S., any money generated from the use of Glitter’s music goes to the Universal Music Publishing group, which echoed Snapper’s sentiments and made a point of stating that it doesn’t pay him any royalties.
While it’s good that the song’s use in Joker isn’t benefitting a man who sexually abused children, the film itself and the record label are getting a benefit from it. The fact that no one involved in the movie’s production had the foresight or wherewithal to know that this was a bad idea speaks volumes.
It’s not as if other film productions haven’t jettisoned Gary Glitter for his crimes. Recall that Glitter himself was meant to be in Spice World back in 1997, but he was ultimately cut from the film after he was arrested for possessing child pornography that same year (though a portion of another song remained).
If a studio could full-on remove a sex offender from its movie at basically the last minute, then there’s no reason another (in 2019) couldn’t have removed a single song from its end product.
But apparently, that just sounds too much like right.