While the state and country cope with the Aurora theater shooting, many have come together to aid the victims and their families. But others have turned their attentions in a completely different direction. Recently, a string of public, poorly timed jokes has attracted national attention for targeting the tragedy with humor, but the past month has been filled with similar attempts. Click through for a list of the ten most maligned reactions to the Aurora tragedy to date. 10. Jeffrey Ross's gag The well-known funny man admitted he "crossed a line" when he brought up the Colorado tragedy during a Comedy Central roast of Roseanne Barr. That night, the roastmaster general compared actor Seth Green to alleged shooter James Holmes, and while he later acknowledged that his peers have apologized for similar circumstances, he has not. Instead, Ross invoked his freedom of speech -- and the channel claimed its option not to air the joke. 9. Conspiracy theories Although many, if not most, questions about the motivations behind the shooting are still unanswered, spectators began formulating their own theories only hours after the event. Among the most prominent were unfounded rumors that Holmes took part in Occupy San Diego and that the entire shooting was staged by the FBI. Online, it's as easy to locate misinformation as it is verified information. Page down to read more of the ten most offensive pop-culture reactions to the Aurora theater shooting. 8. Fake movie reviews Most notably, this one: "One of the best theaters in the country!!! A midnight showing of Dark Knight surprised the audience with a real life gunman coming in!!!! The realism was great....The only thing that made me mad was that the theater canceled the screening, and didn't provide refunds...." 7. James Holmes tribute pages On the opposite end of the spectrum, Holmes supporters (or fake Holmes supporters -- the Internet is a strange place) have created fan pages professing his innocence and, occasionally, praising the actions he's alleged to have committed. Notably, one such page has already been repurposed to pay tribute to alleged Sikh temple shooter (and fellow Coloradan) Wade Michael Page. Page down to read more of the ten most offensive pop-culture reactions to the Aurora theater shooting. 6. Political appropriation Although the shooting served to increase both local and national debate surrounding gun control, both presidential candidates distanced the issue from politics for the first days following the shooting. Obama visited victims and their family members in the hospital. But the tragedy has already been added to agendas: In Idaho, for example, Obama opposers created this billboard message comparing the President to Holmes. 5. Fake social media accounts Although Holmes currently faces 142 charges related to the deaths and injuries resulting from the Aurora theater shooting, Holmes detractors are already using Twitter to sarcastically speculate on his demise in 140 characters or less. In the weeks since the incident, the account has logged more than 37,000 followers -- a total that's decreased by several thousand in the past week or so. Page down to read more of the ten most offensive pop-culture reactions to the Aurora theater shooting. 4. Ignorant asides Along with purposeful statements that "James Holmes is cute," the Internet has welcomed both unfortunate accidents and botched intentions all across the media sphere. Take the above Tweet from @celebboutique, which has since been removed and replaced with an apology. In another separate case of many, Wall Street Journal writer James Taranto Tweeted, "I hope the girls whose boyfriends died to save them were worthy of the sacrifice." 3. James Holmes memes Much debate has been aimed at the repercussions of naming Holmes in media reports; Westword has continued to do so since the beginning. Along with that name comes a shortlist of recurring images that have been re-approriated in shocking attempts at humor. The memes that join them are endless -- and dark.
Page down to read more of the ten most offensive pop-culture reactions to the Aurora theater shooting.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
The famous stand-up comedian has already apologized publicly for his joke, which went like this: "So I heard that the guy came into the theater about 25 minutes into the movie. And I don't know if you've seen the movie, but the movie is pretty much a piece of crap.... Yeah, spoiler alert. And I know that if none of that would have happened, I'm pretty sure that somebody in that theater, about 25 minutes in, realizing it was a piece of crap, probably was like, 'Ugh fucking shoot me.'"
1. Tricia Evans' Twitter tussle Less than 24 hours after the shooting, Playboy model Tricia Evans took to Twitter with a crack that burned ears across the country -- including two comically oversized ones. EDM maestro Deadmau5, who had previously followed Evans online, cut those ties and quickly rebuked her for the message above. His response: "good to know. @HollywoodTricia i seriously had no idea how big of a piece of shit you are. unfollowed." If you have to ask if it's too soon, it is.
More from our Aurora theater shooting archive: "Aurora theater shooting: Diana DeGette pushes bill to restrict online ammo sales."