ATHENS – The flap over Greek police being sent to take minors out of theaters showing the ultra-violent film joker isn’t over with a battle brewing between ministries over how it was done and if should have been.
Deputy Citizens’ Protection Minister Lefteris Economou defended the police officers who took 15 minors out of theaters for the R-rated film that requires viewers to be at least 18, which had led to the New Democracy government being mocked for being overly sensitive although the theaters admitted people too young legally to watch the movie.
“Parliament legislates and police enforce. The police were acting on the basis of the 2010 law that prohibits minors from watching films that have been deemed unsuitable and not on whether it is constitutional,” Economou said in Parliament, responding to a question from a lawmaker with leftist MeRA25.
The decision to remove the children from the screenings was not taken by the police, Economou said, stressing that officers were simply responding to a complaint lodged by two Culture Ministry employees who called the force’s 100 emergency hotline to report the presence of children at the theaters.
“There are no directives banning the 2010 law. It is up to Parliament to decide if the law has to change,” Economou said.
Later press reports said the ministers were were affiliated with the previous ruling Radical Left SYRIZA while Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysohoidis, responded to opposition criticism by Tweeting that he would see the film and take his 15-year-old son in violation of the laws he’s charged with enforcing.
Culture Minister Linda Mendoni’s disciplining of two workers who sent police to report there were minors at theaters watching the R-rated ultra-violent movie Joker has drawn the wrath of their union.
Every attempt to target employees of the ministry and every threat of ‘disciplinary measures’ must stop,” the union said in a press release.
“Employees implement current laws and laws are the responsibility of the political leaders who propose them,” it added and condemned the entry of police officers in the movie theaters and called for amending the law so it doesn’t happen again although it wasn’t explained if that meant violent and profanity-filled films would now be open to minors and children.
Speaking at a private TV station, Mendoni said claims by two two ministry officials who called the police that they had been ordered to monitor attendance by her wasn’t true, adding that while they were on a committee responsible for assigning ratings they didn’t have the authority to call police and will be taken before a disciplinary board.