‘Suicide Squad’ merchandise romanticizes Joker and Harley’s abusive relationship

Ever since I wrote about my dismay with how Suicide Squad appeared to be handling Harley Quinn”s origin back in January, I”ve been hoping against hope the trailer left out crucial details. Tonight, I”ll get to find out. But regardless of how Harley Quinn ends up in a vat of ACE Chemicals, it”s clear Warner Bros. is not interested in exploring the inner complexities of Harley”s role as a victim of domestic abuse.

From our Drew McWeeny in his review of the film:

in the perfect version of the film, we”d see all of the characters genuinely struggling with their nature when offered a chance to do some sort of good in the world. That”s not really what David Ayer had in mind, though. Take his version of Harley Quinn, for example, because she is clearly the character that interested Ayer the most. She”s not really interested in reforming her ways at all, and she is still very much the Joker”s moll, and happily so.

This would be fine if there was any indication that how Harley views her lover is different from how the film itself views him. But based on the merchandising, this is far from the case. There”s a long, sordid history of folks romanticizing Joker and Harley”s relationship (just take a trip down this search), but I was sure Warner Bros. and DC Films were not on board with that portrayal.

I guess I was wrong?

Official merchandising by Bioworld Merch, sold at Hot Topic clearly states that Joker and Harley are #RelationshipGoals.

Is it? Is this relationship the one people should aspire to emulate? Really?

The bracelets aren”t the only questionable piece of Suicide Squad merchandise on offer at Hot Topic. Take this shirt, which basically says ‘I”m head over heels for my abusive boyfriend.”

Both items are available under the Suicide Squad header and are officially licensed merchandise. But the world of ‘officially licensed” can be murky, especially with a huge roll-out like a summer tentpole superhero film. Poster, shirts, shoes, and other assorted swag are plastered with the Squad”s faces and catchphrases. Until proven otherwise, I will live in hope that these Hot Topic items just slipped under Warner Bros. and DC Films quality control radar.

Suicide Squad is in theaters August 5, 2016.

[H/T to Rebecca Pahle!]