The husband of murdered MP Jo Cox has accused a film that portrays an attempt to kill former prime minister Boris Johnson of “normalising violence” against politicians.
Killing Boris Johnson, which premieres at Cannes Film Festival this month, follows a main character who takes a gun to a primary school being visited by Mr Johnson after it was revealed parties were being held at Downing Street during lockdown.
Kaz, played by Shadrach Agozino, plots to assassinate the former prime minister before buying a mask of Mr Johnson to wear to the primary school.
On the Cannes Film Festival website, a summary of the film says: “The inner turmoil of a grieving son collides with the failing political tenure of the Conservatives.”
Brendan Cox, whose Labour wife Jo Cox was murdered in 2016, led the backlash against the film, which was made by the National Film and Television School (NFTS).
“Titles like that normalise violence directed at politicians,” he told the Daily Mail.
The film’s director Musa Alderson-Clarke has previously denied the film incites violence.
He told The Times: “There are some people who feel it’s really inappropriate but the film isn’t about trying to radicalise anyone into wanting to incite violence – and anyone who watched it would understand that.
“It’s the idea of a person and what that person represents and the system they represent, as opposed to the individual. With Boris Johnson, I think we all know, he’s almost a kind of character in his own right.”
He added: “My main goal was to bring to life the dangers of ineptitude in governance and how the lies of Boris Johnson manifested in the lives of everyday people.”
Mr Alderson-Clarke said he was inspired to make the film after his mother took her own life during lockdown, but insisted the film is not based on his life.
Deputy Tory party chair Lee Anderson said it is “absolutely abhorrent” that it will premier at the film festival.
He told GB News: “I thought this has got to be a parody surely, it’s got to be nonsense. But actually it’s at a film festival, it could go to the Oscars, what are we playing at in this country? It’s absolutely shocking. To have a title like that is absolutely abhorrent.”
Meanwhile, former adviser to Mr Johnson, Daniel Moylan, told GB News: “Everyone is entitled to have their views about how policy was conducted during the pandemic.
“But what does worry me about it is that title: Killing Boris Johnson, because we know that there has been violence against political figures on left and right, and we don’t want to see anything that encourages violence against individuals.”
Killing Boris Johnson was one of 16 films selected for the La Cinef category, which highlights films from film schools, out of 2,000 submissions.