3:24pm PT by Pamela McClintock, Natalie Jarvey
Facebook Deactivates Anti-'Black Panther' Group
Facebook has deactivated a group taking aim at Black Panther.
The move comes after Rotten Tomatoes publicly denounced the Facebook group, which was attempting to flood its site with poor audience scores for Disney and Marvel Studios' upcoming superhero pic.
Black Panther, set to open in theaters Feb. 16, marks a bold move by Marvel and Disney in featuring a virtually all-black cast. The film is generating keen interest, with one major tracking service predicting a $130 million-plus domestic debut. Other box-office observers believe that number could even climb to $150 million.
"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 said in a statement.
The Facebook group went by the name "Down with Disney's Treatment of Franchises and its Fanboys." In recent days, the group created the event "Give Black Panther a Rotten Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes" that drew 3,700 participants. In December, the same group claimed it waged a campaign to flood Rotten Tomatoes with poor reviews of Disney and Lucasfilm's Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The group makes unsubstantiated claims that Disney somehow manipulated the press into creating negative buzz for Warner Bros.' DC movies and says it is waging the Black Panther campaign in response.
Not long after Rotten Tomatoes issued its statement, the group's Facebook page was taken down for violating the social networking site's community standards.
"People often use Facebook to challenge ideas, institutions, and practices," a Facebook spokesperson said Friday in a statement. "Such discussion can promote a diversity of perspectives and greater understanding. However, we're opposed to hate speech and bullying, and don't allow either on our platform. We want Facebook to be a space where both expression and personal safety are protected and respected. That's why we developed our Community Standards, which you can read on our site."
After the deadly white supremacist rally last summer in Charlottesville, Virginia, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg vowed to curb hate speech on his social media platform.
Directed by Ryan Coogler, Black Panther stars Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa/Black Panther, alongside Lupita Nyong'o, Michael B. Jordan, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker and Andy Serkis.
The movie is the 18th title in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It also is the first tentpole of 2018.
Feb. 2, 9 p.m. Updated with statement from Facebook.