In one of the more surprising consequences of this week’s wide-ranging assortment of new movie releases, fans of Lady Gaga are being accused of flooding Twitter with negative comments regarding the Tom Hardy-starring superhero feature “Venom” in a bid to drive audiences to the Gaga-starring “A Star Is Born.” Both films are opening this Friday, and while the Bradley Cooper-directed “A Star Is Born” has been picking up steady accolades since premiering on the fall festival circuit last month, Ruben Fleischer’s PG-13 vision of the Spider-Man villain has already been dinged by bad early buzz.
While the review embargo for “Venom” does not expire until later this evening, early critical reactions arrived on social media this morning. As IndieWire reported, “first reactions range from some critics enjoying the film’s humor to others calling it ‘clunky’ and a ‘complete failure.'” As of this writing, “A Star Is Born” currently holds a 95% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and is “certified fresh” after screening at festivals like Venice and Toronto.
As Buzzfeed reports, Lady Gaga fans may be pushing their own negative sentiments on social media in the hopes of bolstering the first weekend box office of “A Star Is Born.” The outlet shares that “on Tuesday, a number of people accused fans of ‘A Star Is Born’ and Lady Gaga of being bots and posting negative reviews of Venom,” pointing to tweets that highlight some strange similarities between various accounts.
— Atomic (@AtomicSpidey) October 2, 2018
Beware of fake #Venom movie reviews. There are people trying to promote Lady Gaga's #AStarIsBorn and are fabricating negative reviews. Look out for bots and only trust proper and regular reviewers. pic.twitter.com/v9xznuN5R7
— Marvel Mania™ (@marvel_maniac_) October 2, 2018
— Nobody In California (@NobodyInCali) October 2, 2018
It’s a crazy-sounding spin on a weird story, but as Buzzfeed sagely notes, “this behavior isn’t exactly unusual for Gaga fans. The ‘Little Monsters’ as they’re known have been behind a number of online troll campaigns; they were part of a group that trolled Ed Sheeran off Twitter and regularly fight with other fandoms. The fandom were supportive of troll account Uma Kompton, and have been accused on multiple occasions of spreading racist and sexist abuse. … In 2016, Gaga fans used these accounts to ask radio stations to play her song ‘Perfect illusion.’ And then launched a harassment campaign against a BuzzFeed News reporter after they were exposed.”
The mystery has only deepened, with Buzzfeed noting that various fans Lady Gaga have alternately confessed to an organized trolling, while others have passed it off as a joke. Now, “Venom” fans are taking to social media to issue their own anti-“A Star Is Born” tweets. And so goes on the cycle.
Sony opens “Venom” and Warner Bros. will release “A Star Is Born” this Friday, October 5.