Rotten Tomatoes Revamps 'Top Critics' Program With an Eye Toward Inclusion

Wonder Woman 1984
Warner Bros. Entertainment

Warner Bros.' 'Wonder Woman 1984.'

The new criterion changes add reviewers working in podcasts and digital video series.

Rotten Tomatoes, the review aggregation site that has been the bane or booster of many Hollywood projects, is adding to the criterion behind its 'Top Critics' program with a goal of increasing diversity amongst its ranks of reviewers.

The latest update to the criterion now includes reviewers working in podcasts and video series. Under the new parameters, 170 new critics have been given Top Critic designation.

The reviews of the Top Critics are the ones taken into consideration when the site is calculating and film or television series' "Tomatometer" scores, or the aggregated percentage of professional critic reviews. This score is prominently displayed on the site.

Like film and television criticism at large, Rotten Tomatoes' Top Critics section has been called out for being dominated by white and male critics. In an attempt to add more diversity to its featured reviewers, in 2018 the site first refreshed the overall criteria for Top Critics, a designation established in 2008.  In August of 2019, 600 critics were added to its roster with the site beginning to look at an individual’s qualifications rather than just at employers; 60 percent of those critics were freelancers.

Of the 170 newly approved critics, according to Rotten Tomatoes, 60 percent are women and an estimated 25 percent are people of color. 24 percent publish reviews via video and podcast.

Jenny Jediny, Rotten Tomatoes head of critics relations, offered: "Our team understands the value of the Top Critic designation and its ability to expand professional opportunities for critics. With an increased focus on individual merit and contributions to the field of criticism, our team is thrilled to award Top Critic status to an additional 170 deserving voices."

"Professional critics have been the backbone of Rotten Tomatoes for more than twenty years and they have helped Rotten Tomatoes grow into the trusted resource for entertainment reviews and recommendations," added Paul Yanover, president of Fandango, Rotten Tomatoes’ parent company. "Revamping Rotten Tomatoes’ Top Critics program is another key move in our ongoing effort to increase inclusion and elevate the voices of underrepresented critics, ensuring that we serve our global audience with the best, most authentic information."

The full criteria the site uses to designate "Top Critics" is available on the Rotten Tomatoes website and was overseen by an external advisory board that includes critics.