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Man with laughing condition like Joker accuses Joaquin Phoenix of stealing his persona

Jake Massey

| Last updated 

Man with laughing condition like Joker accuses Joaquin Phoenix of stealing his persona

A man with a laughing condition like The Joker has hit out at the star of the 2019 Joker movie, Joaquin Phoenix.


Phoenix was heaped with praise for his portrayal of the classic DC Comics villain, picking up an Oscar for his chilling performance.

One man especially well-placed to appraise the performance is Scott Lotan, who lives with a pathological laughing disorder much like the one depicted by Phoenix as Arthur Fleck.

For Scott, from Virginia Beach, USA, the pseudobulbar affect (PBA) is a symptom of his multiple sclerosis (MS) which causes him to have painful and exhausting laughing episodes that can last up to 10 minutes.

These bouts of laughter can be triggered at the worst possible times, such as in the aftermath of a tragic crash in which his fiancée and mum were killed.

The 50-year-old said Phoenix did 'a great job' of conveying the suffering brought about by the broadly misunderstood condition; however, he is less than impressed with the actor and director Todd Phillips, accusing the pair of stealing his persona and giving nothing back.

Scott has hit out at Phoenix and director Phillips. Credit: Warner Bros.
Scott has hit out at Phoenix and director Phillips. Credit: Warner Bros.

Speaking to LADbible, he said: "OK, Joaquin, you don't eat meat, you want to protect all the animals - what about the people?

"I mean, you stole my persona. You took my identity, and you put it on the screen and made millions, and you can't help a community? You can't donate to MS or Parkinson's or any of these other things? I don't get it.

"I've seen the interviews with Todd Phillips, I've seen the interviews with Joaquin, and they make reference to the videos, and that laughter, and how it helped develop the actual character."

Dad-of-two Scott - whose house tragically burnt down at the end of July - said it was wrong that the community itself did not profit from the hugely successful film.

He continued: "At no single point, one of the highest grossing movies ever, have you reached out to do anything for the community?

"The reality is, when you look at my videos on YouTube and you watch that movie, you think about my storyline, that you guys did a write-up with. It kind of helped form the character, the Joker itself.

"So, like no recognition from Todd Phillips, no recognition from Joaquin, or any of it. It's like, not that I care to have you guys come pay me, but do something for the community."

LADbible has reached out to Warner Bros. and the reps of Phoenix and Phillips for comment.

It was recently confirmed that Phoenix will be reprising his role as the Joker, starring alongside Lady Gaga in Joker: Folie à Deux, which is due to be released on 4 October 2024.

The likes of Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger have famously played the character before, but speaking to LADbible in 2019 ahead of Joker's release, Phoenix said he chose not to draw on previous portrayals.

"I thought it was important for it to be its own thing, to be its own interpretation," he said.

"What's interesting about this character is that everybody can interpret it however they want. Even with this film, I think the audience gets to interpret the character and what drives him, in a way that I think is unique for a lot of films, I mean it really asks the audience to participate, and I think that's interesting."

Featured Image Credit: LADbible/Warner Bros.

Topics: Joker, Joaquin Phoenix, TV and Film, DC Comics

Jake Massey
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