The film-rating aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes has announced it will no longer allow users to comment on or register early anticipation for movies, following a series of coordinated attempts to sabotage the ratings on a few select upcoming films.
The most recent attack was on Captain Marvel, which received a wave of negative early ratings from people complaining about the “social-justice warrior politics” of star Brie Larson. The backlash largely stems from an interview where Larson said she was tired of being interviewed by “overwhelmingly white male” journalists and that she wanted to see more opportunities for diverse voices in the field.
A new blog post from Rotten Tomatoes’ product team announced changes to tackle this issue. “Unfortunately, we have seen an uptick in non-constructive input, sometimes bordering on trolling, which we believe is a disservice to our general readership,” the post reads. “We have decided that turning off this feature for now is the best course of action. Don’t worry though, fans will still get to have their say: Once a movie is released, audiences can leave a user rating and comments as they always have.”
This isn’t the first time Rotten Tomatoes has dealt with organized attacks on a specific film from certain groups. Star Wars: The Last Jedi was bombarded with negative reviews that also cited “SJW ideologies” as a reason. At the time, a Facebook group called “Down With Disney’s Treatment of Franchises and its Fanboys” organized a concerted action to drop the film’s audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.
One review, posted by a user named Johnny S, read at the time:
If you like stunning visuals, superficial character development, a choppy, incoherent, illogical plot, plot holes, SJW concepts such as capitalism is bad, animal abuse is bad, “make love not war”, every bad guy being a white male, and neutering every positive protagonist male in this movie, or you are only a casual fan of Star Wars, you’ll probably like this movie.
Rotten Tomatoes isn’t the only platform that has come up with measures to tackle review-bombing. Steam has also implemented product changes to dissuade users from doing it, and helping other people understand when it might happen.
Captain Marvel is just the latest example of review-bombing on Rotten Tomatoes, but the new product change also comes before Star Wars: Episode IX, for which some were expecting to see similar treatment.