Jon Bernthal Weighs in on ‘Punisher’ Riot Debate

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Credit: Left Photo: Netflix Right Photo: Marvel/Deadline

Yesterday we reported that certain voices in the Comic book industry had called for The Punisher to be retired as the character’s logo was used during the Capitol riots. Well, today The Punisher himself, Jon Bernthal, has weighed in on the “Punisher riot” debate.

Bernthal has condemned those who reportedly used the iconic Punisher skull at the Capitol riots, but he has defended his character.

This comment was noticed on Twitter after a fan shared art and praised the character.

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Retire The Punisher
Credit: Marvel/Netflix

Bernthal defends The Punisher amidst Capitol riot

Bernthal clearly doesn’t think that Frank Castle should be canceled as he praised an artist for painting a stunning picture of him in character. However, he did condemn those who used the character’s skull logo during the Capitol protests last week. His tweet reads:

“these people are misguided, lost, and afraid. They have nothing to do with what Frank stands for or is about. Big love. J”. 

You can’t argue with the man himself. Bernthal got to know Frank Castle intimately as he spent a good three years of his life portraying him in both the second season of Daredevil and Netflix’s Punisher series.

Bernthal isn’t the only celebrity to call out the use of the logo as The Boys creator Garth Ennis also reportedly condemned its use at the Capitol riots.

He told Syfy that the people who wear the logo are “kidding themselves, just like the police officers who wore it over the summer […] They’ve thought no harder about the Punisher symbol than the halfwits I saw [on Wednesday], the ones waving the Stars and Stripes while invading the Capitol building.”

Ennis is also notable for working extensively on The Punisher comic books and he even wrote the iconic Punisher kills the Marvel Universe series.

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Why are people calling for The Punisher to retire?

The Punisher riot
Credit: Marvel/Netflix

Several comic book artists and writers spoke out against those using the Punisher’s skull logo when storming the Capitol building if you missed the news yesterday. They argued that the very concept of Frank Castle has become corrupted. While some called for Frank’s cancellation, others urged Marvel to be more vigilante in their pursuit of copyright infringement.

Most notable was Mitch Gerads who actually worked for Marvel on the Punisher series for twenty issues. He also created an updated version of the logo in question. On Twitter, Mitch suggested that Marvel “needs to retire [the symbol]” as it has become a “symbol of hate”.

This led many on social media to suggest that Frank Castle’s brand of vigilante justice has no place in 2021 and that the concept behind him has become corrupted by the rioters’ actions. Many pictures of the rioters on the senate floor emerged, including one now-famous shot of a rioter sitting in Nancy Pelosi’s office. Several of the rioters can be seen brandishing Frank’s iconic skull logo.

Additionally, this isn’t the first time that the logo has been used by social groups, as it is a regular sight at pro-police Blue Lives Matter rallies and on the uniforms of some police officers.

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Who is The Punisher?

punisher riot
Credit: Marvel

If you’re not a hardcore Marvel fan, you may not be aware of Frank Castle. Essentially, he’s a Marvel anti-hero and a vigilante. He takes down criminals and supervillains, sure, but he does it with a lot more anger and violence than your average hero. This capacity for murder has seen him come to loggerheads with many Marvel superheroes including Spider-Man and Daredevil.

Indeed, Frank’s bloodlust was the main conflict of Daredevil season two as Frank and Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) couldn’t agree on how to deal with the criminals of Hell’s Kitchen.

The character became popular as a kind of a foil to the more heroic characters like Black Widow and Scarlet Witch and the Jon Bernthal version was incredibly popular. This version is also notable for technically being the Marvel Cinematic Universe version of the character, though it remains unclear whether the Netflix series will stay in canon. However, with Deadpool 3 back on the cards, anything seems possible.

It remains to be seen if Marvel will comment on either the cancellation of The Punisher character or the logo. Inside the Magic will continue to update on this topic as we hear more.

Related: Is Jon Bernthal returning as The Punisher in an upcoming Disney+ show?

What do you think of the “Punisher riot” controversy? Let us know in the comments below.

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