Alt-right group tries to sabotage Disney’s ‘Black Panther’ on Rotten Tomatoes

An alt-right Facebook group is attempting to sabotage Rotten Tomatoes ratings for Walt Disney Co.’s upcoming superhero movie “Black Panther.”

A Facebook page called “Down With Disney’s Treatment of Franchises and its Fanboys” created an event called “Give Black Panther a Rotten Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes.”

Both the Facebook page, for repeatedly violating community standards, and the event have since been removed.

The moderator of the page claimed credit for a concerted attack against Disney’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” when it was released back in December. The aim was the same: Give the film rotten ratings.

The moderator self-identified as a member of the alt-right when HuffPost reached out to him in December. He told HuffPost that he was upset that the producers introduced more female characters into the “Star Wars” universe.

Also see:Alt-Right group claims credit for using bots to lower user ratings for ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’

“People often use Facebook to challenge ideas, institutions, and practices. Such discussion can promote a diversity of perspectives and greater understanding,” a Facebook spokesperson told MarketWatch in an email. “However, we’re opposed to hate speech and bullying, and don’t allow either on our platform. We want Facebook to be a space where both expression and personal safety are protected and respected. That’s why we developed our community standards.”

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Before the “Black Panther” Facebook event was taken down, thousands of users had said they were either going, or interested in the event.

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Rotten Tomatoes said Thursday that it was aware of the plan and that it would block any users engaging in hate speech in the comments.

“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,” the review aggregator said in a statement. “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.”

The website has been the subject of much criticism and debate recently as its clout in Hollywood and on the performance of films has seemingly increased.

See:Studios blame movie reviews as summer box office underperforms

Don’t miss:Hollywood’s box office failures go beyond Rotten Tomatoes

Representatives for Disney
  and Facebook Inc.
  were not immediately available for comment.

“Black Panther,” which opens Feb. 16, is expected to be one of Marvel’s biggest films. Advance ticket sales for the film have already broken Fandango’s presales record for superhero movies. Rotten Tomatoes is owned by Fandango, of which Time Warner Inc.’s
 Warner Bros. owns 30% and Comcast Corp.’s
 NBCUniversal owns 70%.

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Read:Will ‘Black Panther’ break Marvel’s opening weekend box-office record?

The film is expected to pull in $139 million in its opening weekend, according to estimates from analysts at Box Office Pro.

“Black Panther” boasts a predominately black cast. The film is based on the comic books created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1966 about T’Challa, also known as the Black Panther, who is the king and protector of a fictional isolationist African nation, Wakanda, the world’s most technologically advanced country.

“Black Panther” was the first superhero of African descent in mainstream American comics.

Shares of Disney are down roughly 6% in the past 12 months, while the S&P 500 index
 is up nearly 16% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average
 is up more than 21%.

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