'Joker' sparks social media, political mini-furor in Greece after 2 ministry officials try to prevent teens from watching movie

Monday, 21 October 2019 14:49
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The latest political furor in Greece erupted "out of the blue" on a balmy Sunday afternoon and was related to the Hollywood blockbuster "Joker", after police were called to at least two movie theaters in Athens to check whether unaccompanied minors were in attendance.

The international film sensation has been rated "R" in Greece, meaning a movie-goer must be at least 18 years old, although record-breaking crowds in cinemas around Greece have been packed with adolescents, as most reports confirm.

The two incidents sparked widespread criticism in social media, then picked up by opposition media, of "authoritarian" measures by the current center-right government, ostensibly because "Joker" is considered a radical and "subversive" film.

According to a clarification on Monday morning by Culture Minister Lena Mendoni, two ministry officials affiliated with the board that reviews and gives a rating to movie releases took it upon themselves to call police and complain that underage people were viewing the R-rated "Joker".

Mendoni said the action exceeded the jurisdiction of the two civil servants, with no mention in the relevant law of law enforcement officers' involvement.

Later press reports, in fact, cite the fact that the two culture ministry officials were affiliated with the previous leftist SYRIZA government.

What generated most of the anger is the fact that police escorted nearly a dozen adolescents from the movie theaters to nearby police precincts for pick up by their parents or guardians.

Mendoni on Monday promised a disciplinary hearing against the two ministry officials, while the relevant public order minister, Michalis Chrysohoidis, responded to opposition criticism by Tweeting that he's going to see "Joker" on Monday evening with his 15-year-old son.



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