The Marvel vs. DC debate took center stage today. It topic was trending worldwide on Twitter after reports last night of a group of DC fans organizing to sabotage Black Panther‘s audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. The popular movie review aggregator is not amused.
Rotten Tomatoes has responded to this group and any others who might wish to tank the score for Black Panther. They released the following statement to The Wrap.
“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 is obviously and rightfully more concerned with those whose hopes of trashing Black Panther‘s audience scores are racially motivated. That very loud, but still very small group of DC fans are trivial by comparison (and in general).
What remains unclear is how exactly Rotten Tomatoes intends to preserve the validity of its audience scores. Their system doesn’t include any verification that those voting for the audience score have actually seen the film. There is no method for determining what motivates a voter’s rating, whether it’s their actual opinion of the film or an attempt to sink a film for an illegitimate reason.
The same group behind this anti-Black Panther campaign claims to have rigged the poor audience scores for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The group, led by a moderator claiming to be a member of the alt-right, says they successfully used bots to flood Rotten Tomatoes with negative votes.
Rotten Tomatoes says that didn’t happen and the score is legitimate, but offered no insight as to how they verified it. If we see an audience score for Black Panther that doesn’t reflect any other data found through other sources, Rotten Tomatoes will have a very hard time defending their voting system going forward.
What will not be impacted by any of this, however, is the score most people look at when visiting Rotten Tomatoes. The Tomatometer, voted on by professional critics who’ve been verified and approved by the site, will not be caught up in any of this mess.