Gary Glitter, a convicted pedophile with multiple convictions, is set to receive a windfall of cash from Joker. Glitter’s 1972 song, “Rock and Roll Part 2”, played for approximately two minutes in the film, and reports indicate that Glitter will be compensated with a lump sum payment plus other monetary considerations.
In light of Glitter’s considerable infringements, many sports stadiums, venues and licensing agencies banned the use of the singer’s music, especially “Part 2”.
As of this writing, Warner Bros. had not publicly commented on the matter. The nasty issue was first reported by CNBC reporter Sam Meredith, who began investigating after hearing the clip play prominently in the film. Meredith also asked if Glitter’s payouts would also include a portion of the film’s gross, which is now in the hundreds of millions.
Glitter, real name Paul Francis Gadd, rose to prominence after releasing “Rock and Roll Part 1″ and “Rock and Roll Part 2” in 1972. Since then, the 75-year-old has sold more than 20 million records and produced nearly 30 songs which topped the UK charts.
Despite this commercial success, Glitter has irrevocably tarnished his career and his image by being linked to all sorts of accusations related to child sexual abuse.
Glitter was first arrested for engaging in sexual activity with an underage girl in the 1970s. In the late 1990s, Glitter was arrested and convicted of uploading over 4,000 sexually explicit images of underage women. He was deported from several countries for similar criminal offenses and in 2006 a Vietnamese court sentenced him to three years behind bars.
Upon returning to his native UK (having been banned from entering most other countries), Glitter was sentenced to 16 years in prison for sexual assault and attempted rape of minors.
The use of Glitter’s song in Joker sparked debate among fans. On one side of the argument, some believe it was inappropriate to present the art of a convicted felon, while those on the other side argue that the man’s work should be judged independently of his breaches of the law and his misconduct.
Beyond this controversy, Joker also courted its own controversy but was well received by critics and fans. The Todd Phillips-directed film also broke several box office records, grossing nearly $250 million in its opening weekend.