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Rotten Tomatoes responds to fringe group’s Black Panther review bomb threats

Facebook has removed the group from its page

Black Panther - close-up of Black Panther in costume Marvel Studios

Rotten Tomatoes has issued a statement in wake of an anti-Disney fringe group threatening to use the site as a platform for review bombing Black Panther later this month.

This isn’t the first time the group, “Down With Disney’s Treatment of Franchises and its Fanboys,” has attempted to review bomb a movie. Created by an anonymous person who aligns themselves with the alt-right, a radical movement that propagates racist, misogynistic, xenophobic and various other hateful ideologies, the group campaigned against Star Wars: The Last Jedi in December for the film’s inclusion of female characters and “men being portrayed as idiots,” according to Huffington Post.

Rotten Tomatoes told The Wrap that while the company respects “fans’ diverse opinions” on the movies they’re watching, it will not condone hate speech on the platform. The full statement can be read below:

We at Rotten Tomatoes are proud to have become a platform for passionate fans to debate and discuss entertainment and we take that responsibility seriously. 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.

Rotten Tomatoes’ response to the threat comes just a couple of months after the company dealt with a similar attack on Star Wars: The Last Jedi led by the same group. Its members took credit in December for an attack on Rotten Tomatoes’ audience score for the movie. The barrage of negative reviews led to one of the lowest audience scores for a Star Wars movie.

The group’s biggest complaints with The Last Jedi include adding more female characters and the supposed mistreatment of men, according to Huffington Post.

“There was a time we ruled society and I want to see that again,” the creator said.

An event was created to start review bombing Black Panther. It consisted of more than 3,700 active users at the time who intended to take down Disney by negatively campaigning behind a series of Marvel properties, including Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War and Marvel TV series. The goal was to “strike back at all those under Disney and bring down the house of mouse’s actions for paying off the critics that hurt DC Comics on film and for other parties affected by them,” the group’s description read.

Facebook has removed the group entirely for violating the company’s community guidelines following a series of complaints. A screenshot taken by Marvel Studios News displays the message Facebook sent to an anonymous person who reported the group.

Facebook Black Panther
Facebook takedown notification.
Marvel Studios News

Just because the page has been removed, however, doesn’t mean campaigns against the movie will stop. Director Ryan Coogler spoke to Huffington Post about the anti-Disney campaign, also addressing the importance of Rotten Tomatoes’ overall critics and audience scores, calling it an “oversimplification of what critics are saying about a movie.”

“I’m really looking forward to sharing the film with audiences regardless of what their political views are … that’s kind of where I [stand on that],” Coogler said.

Rotten Tomatoes does have ways with tracking review bombing attempts in the event that an attack is issued. The company told Polygon in December that the “authenticity of our critic and user scores is very important” and the company will work to ensure that all reviews are valid.

“As a course of regular business, we have a team of security, network, social and database experts who closely monitor our platforms,” a representative told Polygon. “They haven’t determined there to be any problems.”

Black Panther will be released on Feb. 16. Polygon has reached out to Rotten Tomatoes for further comment and will update if more information becomes available.

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