February 2, 2018 2:53 pm

Anti-‘Black Panther’ Facebook group campaign targets Marvel movie

A scene from upcoming Disney/Marvel movie 'Black Panther.'

Marvel/Disney
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A Facebook group — the same one that tried to bring down Star Wars: The Last Jedi — has started a campaign against upcoming Disney/Marvel movie Black Panther, its goal to lower the film’s Rotten Tomatoes score. (This move is otherwise known as “review bombing.”)

Black Panther features an almost all-black cast, save a handful of actors, and is tracking for a $130 million-plus U.S. debut. It seems the group, which was perturbed by the female-storyline push in The Last Jedi, is also upset with the casting for the film.

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The group’s Facebook page, which has now been removed from the social media site for violating the company’s community guidelines, was titled “Down With Disney’s Treatment of Franchises and its Fanboys,” and its Black Panther-specific campaign event didn’t hide its intention with its name: “Give Black Panther a Rotten Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes.”

A screengrab of the Facebook group’s ‘Black Panther’ campaign (before it was removed).

Screengrab/Facebook

The group is helmed by an anonymous individual who identifies with and propagates hateful ideologies like misogyny and racism, and seems to have a vendetta against movies with the opposite message. The mandate also aims to bolster Marvel’s perceived No. 1 enemy, DC Comics. (There is an ongoing internet war between these two factions.)

It makes unsubstantiated claims that Disney somehow manipulated the media into writing negative reviews about DC movies, and is starting this Black Panther campaign as revenge. The group’s ultimate goal, as written in its description, 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.”

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The group, which numbered approximately 3,700 members before its removal, planned to negatively campaign for Marvel films other than Black Panther: it also sought to go after Avengers: Infinity War and an upcoming Marvel TV series. The hashtag “#bringdowndisney” even made it onto Twitter.

Its members took credit in December for an “attack” on The Last Jedi Rotten Tomatoes page, which ultimately gave the movie one of the lowest-ever audience scores for a Star Wars film.

But take comfort, Marvel and Black Panther fans. The majority of responses on Twitter were overwhelmingly positive about the movie, and negative about the trolling.

Rotten Tomatoes released a statement about the Facebook group on Thursday. The site says it intends to monitor the Black Panther page very closely.

“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,” it 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.”

‘Black Panther’ opens in theatres across Canada on Feb. 16.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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