UPDATE: According to the Los Angeles Times, an unnamed spokesman at Gary Glitter's label in London asserts that "Gary Glitter does not get paid" for the use of "Rock and Roll Part 2," reporting that Glitter sold his publishing rights to the song over 20 years ago. This article's text has been amended to reflect that.
There's a scene in Todd Phillips' controversial new Joker movie in which Joaquin Phoenix's tortured lead is finally fully transformed from outcast Arthur Fleck into the dangerously bombastic Joker. As he embraces his new role, he is seen dancing down some stairs to the sounds of 1972's "Rock & Roll Part 2" by Gary Glitter—and it's created a furor. (Well, on top of the one that already existed, about centering a movie on a murderous protagonist who gets that way via social rejection.)
It's not for nothing. Glitter, a British glam rocker who found fame with outrageous clothes and catchy songs in the '70s and early '80s, is a pariah in his home country, thanks to his status as a convicted pedophile and unapologetic sexual abuser. Glitter's rap sheet is long and horrifying. In 1999, he was placed on Britain's sex offender register and sentenced to four months in prison after 4,000 images of child pornography (some featuring children under the age of 6) were discovered on his laptop.
After his release, he fled to Cambodia where he was eventually deported for sex tourism. In 2005 and 2006, he came to the attention of Vietnamese police after preying on multiple young girls, including children as young as 10 and 11-years old, and a 15-year-old who was said to be living with him. He served three years in Thủ Đức Prison, was barred from at least 19 countries, including the Philippines, Cuba, Cambodia and Thailand, and was subsequently deported to the U.K. in 2008.
During 2014 and 2015, as part of a sweeping investigation that brought down a wealth of prominent TV, radio and music personalities in the U.K., Glitter was charged with a multitude of sexual offenses relating to multiple children under the age of 14 (one of whom was 8). He is currently serving 16 years in prison.