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The Trolls Are Out of Control

The Trolls Are Out of Control

The Dark Knight Rises opens Friday.  Reviewers have seen the film, and the reviews are starting to come in.  It makes sense to people who process information intellectually that not everyone who sees the film will like it.  It’s the way of the world.  Some things work for some people. 

It seems that movies about superheroes bring out the internet trolls in a big way when people criticize them.  Amy Nicholson from Box Office Magazine got major crap when she posted a review in April that had some issues with The Avengers.  I wrote a full post on this back when it happened.  Just to show that I am not exaggerating, here’s one of the most offensive comments:

Bitch what the fuck is wrong with you, I knew there would be bad reviews from some people but not from spiteful assholes who bash shit for attention.

Now that The Dark Knight Rises reviews have come in and on Rotten Tomatoes there are 69 fresh and 11 rotten (as of 11am EST on July 18). Amy Nicholson wrote a review that is certified fresh, but had some issues and again she is getting trashed in the comments.  Some were so brutal they had to be removed from the site.

Here’s one of the comments:

I’m complaining because a legitimate website,, has a ridiculously inadequate film critic… probably only there to “be a female voice” instead of be a “voice that knows what they’re talking about.” I’m also complaining because I don’t just look at the tomato as “fresh” or “rotten” but I actually read their reviews.

The woman spent the entire review doing a 10th grade-level essay where the prompt was “Compare Dark Knight with Dark Knight Rises” instead of “Analyze Dark Knight Rises.” It’s not a film review.

Amy is not the only one who is getting bashed on this.  When Marshall Fine of Hollywood and Fine and Christy Lemire of AP both posted negative reviews, the trolls came out in force and clogged up Mr. Fine’s site in disgust and sent out death threats to both of them.

This stuff has gotten way out of hand.  Those people who follow the feminist blogosphere know what happened to Anita Sarkeesian of Feminist Frequency when she tried to put together a Kickstarter campaign to create a video entitled Tropes vs. Women in Video Games.  She was subject to a deluge of online harrassment including the hacking of her wikipedia page and physical threats.  She was also subjected to visual misogyny which you should check out here (people photoshopped vulgar images over her picture among other things.)  The good news is that many people heard about the threats and responding by giving Anita way more money than she needed.   She got over $158,000 when she was trying to raise $6,000. 

Back to the movies.  Amy was defended by her bosses but the harrassment wasn’t really addressed broadly.  Until now.  The editor in chief of Rotten Tomatoes Matt Atchity posted a letter to the trolls telling them, among other things, to stop being dicks.  And because there are so many comments coming in that need policing, they shut off the commeting for The Dark Knight Rises.  And because of this incident they are going to move to Facebook interface for comments so that people can’t spew anonoymous vitriol.  It’s a lot harder to trash someone when they know your name and how to find you. 

Here’s what he had to say:

But if I could ask everyone for one thing, it’s this: don’t be a dick. Even if you think someone else is being a dick. Just take a deep breath, step away from the computer, and maybe go for a walk. Have a smoke if you need one. There are plenty of other things to get angry about, like war, famine, poverty and crime. But not movie reviews.

I’m glad that others on the internet have realized how horrible these trolls can be.  And yes, there are way more important things to get angry about.

Image Based Harassment and Visual Misogyny (Feminist Frequency)

Woman Vs. Internet: How Anita Sarkeesian beat the trolls (Game Industry International)

Rotten Tomatoes Halts Comments on ‘Dark Knight’ (NY Times)

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