A self-described member of the “alt-right” has taken credit for tanking Rotten Tomatoes’ score for “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” with bots — and he did so because he’s angry about the producers’ decision to cast more women in the film.
As Huffington Post reports, the moderator of the Facebook page “Down With Disney’s Treatment of Franchises and its Fanboys” claims he unleashed bots on Rotten Tomatoes because Lucasfilm, the production house owned by Star Wars creator George Lucas, was intent on pursuing “their own feminst [sic] agenda.”
“I’m sick and tired of men being portrayed as idiots,” the page’s moderator told HuffPost. “There was a time we ruled society and I want to see that again. That is why I voted for Donald Trump.”
On December 12, the CEO of Fandango (who owns Rotten Tomatoes) tweeted praise for the film, which received a rare 93% approval rating and was “certified fresh” almost immediately.
— Erik Davis (@ErikDavis) December 12, 2017
Days after, however, that score was down to 55 percent, with 118,000 reviews. On Monday, Polygon published a report about the suddenly-tanked score that speculated it was likely the work of bots and/or members of the 4chan messaging board. Polygon’s report also revealed the existence of the “Down with Disney” Facebook page, which had by December 18 taken credit for the increasingly bad ratings.
The moderator of the group said he and a “more technically-literate” friend deployed the bot army. Rotten Tomatoes, however, denied that they’d been attacked by bots, saying that they’ve seen similar groups attempt to take credit for review shifts.
“These things happen from time to time where somebody opportunistically seizes on a moment and says, ‘Oh, that thing? Yeah, I did that,” Jeff Voris, the company’s vice president, said. “We take it very seriously, and we’ve looked at this, and to the best of our investigation so far this looks like legitimate user behavior.”