Does anyone at the Warner Bros. music department have access to Google?
The question arises after it emerged that a key scene in the studio’s hit new movie Joker, which opened Thursday for a record weekend, uses a famous track by Gary Glitter, a British pedophile currently rotting in jail, where he is serving a 16-year prison sentence for abusing three young girls.
It’s not even Glitter’s first jail term; he served time in 2006 for molesting girls in Vietnam and was first jailed in 1999 after he was caught with images of child abuse.
While Glitter, real name Paul Gadd, may not be a household name in the U.S., he is one of the Britain’s most notorious hate-figures. The idea that his 1972 track “Rock and Roll II” could have been been included for a pivotal scene (in which Joaquin Phoenix descends an outdoor staircase as he completes his transformation into Batman’s iconic foe) has shocked U.K. audiences.
With Joker grossing an estimated $93.5 million in ticket sales from 4,374 screens in North America this weekend, breaking the record for an October opening, Glitter’s royalty payment could leave him nicely set up for his release, which could come as soon as 2021 under British law.
“Artists are usually paid a one-off ‘synchronization fee’ when their songs are used on movie soundtracks,” Ray Bush, managing director of The Music Royalty Co., told Yahoo News, “It can range from £500 for smaller acts, up to £250,000-£500,000, depending on the artist and the importance to the narrative of the film.”
Some allegations against Glitter came to light 40 years after they occurred.