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Absurd Trolls Try to Tank Black Panther User Ratings: “Minorities … Should Stay That Way”

[Update: Facebook shut them down.]

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The same group that claimed responsibility for lowering Star Wars: The Last Jedi’s user rating on review site Rotten Tomatoes is back at it again, this time targeting Marvel’s Black Panther. It’s sad enough to see supposed fans launching angry campaigns to tank review scores with an Us vs. Them mentality, but the reasons given for their frustrations are even worse.

Their Facebook page is billed simply as “Down with Disney’s Treatment of Franchises and its Fanboys,” but rhetoric about “SJWs” quickly makes it clear that they’re only interested in defending a specific segment of “fans.” It’s weird to see the same people who would readily argue that representation and diversity shouldn’t be concerns when making a movie turn around and base their reaction to movies entirely on how they feel about their representation and diversity, but such is the paradox of the anti-“SJW” crowd.

To make exactly clear why they might have a problem with Black Panther in particular—a movie with a Black hero (or several), focused on an African nation, which has been roundly praised for just that—the group’s leader told Inverse that “minorities … should stay that way,” among other comments about Disney using Marvel and Star Wars properties to “shove SJW messages down our throats.” Rotten Tomatoes denied that bots backing this ideology were behind The Last Jedi’s poor user ratings compared to critic scores, but even if they weren’t, plenty of those bad reviews expressed a similar viewpoint.

And it’s one that’s sad to see, as those who hold it can’t seem to believe that there are just plenty of people out here ready and waiting for these movies to do exactly what they’re doing. They imagine grand conspiracies in which the positive buzz around Marvel and Star Wars movies, as opposed to DCEU movies, exists entirely because Disney has paid off reviewers—and believe me, I’m no fan of certain things Disney has done when it comes to publicity, but that’s just nonsense.

In better news, the Facebook page has less less than 500 likes, and most of the conversation around the “event” they created, encouraging tanking Black Panther’s review score and picking specific “Marvel fanboys” to target with spoilers for the movie, seems to be mocking the event, rather than the movie. Still, roughly four thousand people have signed up to participate, with another two thousand “interested.” The movie is on track for a huge debut with massive advance ticket sales, and this ridiculousness probably won’t even register this as a blip on the radar, but it’s driven by a very real, harmful sentiment that we all have to push back against—exactly why these movies are so important.

(via, image: Marvel Entertainment)

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Dan Van Winkle
Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct <em>Geekosystem</em> (RIP), and then at <em>The Mary Sue</em> starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at <em>Smash Bros.</em>

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