The screening of ‘Joker’ film in Paris ended up in chaos after a man shouted Allahu Akbar during the movie, causing the audience to flee the cinema in panic.
The man who shouted ‘Allah o Akbar’ was detained by the police after the outburst at Grand Rex Cinema on Sunday 27th October 2019. The incident was reported in the French publication, which revealed that a 34-year old man was placed in psychiatric observation after being detained.
According to the theater director, the suspects purposely disrupted the movie in order to sow panic and steal audience members' personal items, including phones and bags. https://t.co/dsKJ33Yf3c
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) October 29, 2019
According to the witness who spoke to the publications, the man repeatedly shouted ‘It is political’ during the movie, making the cinema audience laugh until the man stood up and started yelling ‘ Allah o Akbar’ with a hand on his chest.
“People panicked, ran to the exits,” the source reportedly said. “Some were crying. A mother was looking for her daughter.” Other witnesses reported that people started climbing seats to escape while others were on the floor and being stepped over.
The director of the Grand Rex cinema told a US-based publication that the man, working with an accomplice, staged the incident on purpose to steal the valuables left behind by the people. “They were two thieves looking for a way to take people’s phones and bags,” he said. “They had already used the same tactic once on a train.”
When the suspect tried to escape, several audience members nabbed him and wrestled him to the ground. He manages to escape the mob but was later taken into custody by the Paris police. He added that the cinema has pursued charges against the men.
The Rex director added that the cinema has the capacity of 500 people, had roughly 200 people in it during the screening, 25 audience members fled but the rest of the members stayed back until the end of the movie. Afterward, the theater was evacuated and Paris police sent in the bomb squad and dogs to search for weapons and explosives, none of which were found.
Concerns of Violence
The movie featuring a character afflicted with mental illness committing acts of violence has already attracted criticism from various sections of the society. They fear movie may encourage audience members going through mental illness may imitate the acts of violence shown in the movie.
So, authorities have usually tightened up security around cinemas screening the movie. Minor acts of violence were reported at various places in cinemas following the screening of the movie.
— Austere Texans (@KAVANationalism) October 30, 2019
— 👁️BigBroKnows👁️ (@panos941) October 29, 2019