A self-proclaimed "alt-right" Facebook group was deactivated after it threatened to flood movie criticism aggregator Rotten Tomatoes with bad reviews for "Black Panther."
The AV Club reports that the now-defunct group, called "Down With Disney’s Treatment of Franchises and its Fanboys," organized an event and campaign designed to negatively impact the Black cast-led Marvel movie’s audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. Disney is the main distributor for Marvel’s superhero movies, including "Black Panther."
This tweet captures screenshots of the campaign plans and affiliated Facebook event:
Imagine being so ridiculous. Smh pic.twitter.com/d8dq2kwM1f
— Marvelous Realm (@MarvelousRealm) February 1, 2018
The event description accused Disney of "paying off the critics" that wrote poor reviews of DC Comics superhero films, which the group regards as more faithful to the original comics and less politically correct than the more-successful Marvel movies.
Rotten Tomatoes issued a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, which reads: “While we respect our fans’ diverse opinions, we do not condone hate speech. Our team of security, network and social experts continue to closely monitor our platforms, and any users who engage in such activities will be blocked from our site and their comments removed as quickly as possible."
THR additionally notes that the group no longer exists on Facebook. The social media site did not provide THR with a comment on the page deactivation.
The group’s anonymous moderator previously took credit for a concerted campaign to destroy the Rotten Tomatoes audience rating for "Star Wars: The Last Jedi." The moderator told The Huffington Post that he was part of the "alt-right," a constellation of White supremacist groups, and said that the group deployed bots (fake, automated website users) to write bad reviews. “I’m sick and tired of men being portrayed as idiots," he said about the movie. "There was a time we ruled society, and I want to see that again." That movie’s current audience score is 48 percent. Neither the moderator nor The Huffington Post conclusively proved that the alleged bad review campaign led to the audience score.
"Black Panther" director and co-screenwriter Ryan Coogler told The Huffington Post that while he hadn’t heard of the Facebook group, he was “really looking forward to sharing the film with audiences, regardless of what their political views are."