This article originally appeared on VICE US
Critics seem to love The Last Jedi, and it's raking in cash hand over fist at the box office. But for a movie that's apparently obscenely popular, it's facing some pretty serious backlash from viewers—as of Thursday, its audience score on Rotten Tomatoes weighed in at 54 percent. So what gives?
According to the Huffington Post, a fringe alt-right group might be to blame. Some anonymous troll behind the Facebook group "Down With Disney's Treatment of Franchises and its Fanboys" told HuffPo he dispatched an army of bots to flood The Last Jedi's Rotten Tomatoes page with negative reviews. The moderator—who self-identifies as alt-right—said he went after the movie for its "feminist agenda," arguing that Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) is a "victim of the anti-mansplaining movement,” Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) is somehow being "turn[ed] gay," and that there are too many women featured in the film.
“I’m sick and tired of men being portrayed as idiots," the moderator told HuffPo. "There was a time we ruled society and I want to see that again. That is why I voted for Donald Trump.”
In a Facebook post, the moderator took sole credit for The Last Jedi's low audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes, claiming that his bots "rigged this score and still keep it dropping." But as the review aggregator tells it, that's a load of bunk. A representative from the site told HuffPo that if an army of bots were shitposting on The Last Jedi's page, Rotten Tomatoes would've noticed.
"As a course of regular business, we have a team of security, network, social, [and] database experts who monitor all of our platforms and they haven’t seen any unusual activity,” the rep said.
Rotten Tomatoes' vice president Jeff Voris told HuffPo the troll taking credit for the low score is probably just looking for some attention—retroactively claiming to be a mastermind behind something that, in reality, he had no hand in shaping.
"These things happen from time to time where somebody opportunistically seizes on a moment and says, ‘Oh, that thing? Yeah, I did that,’” Voris said. “We take [foul play] very seriously, and we’ve looked at this, and to the best of our investigation so far this looks like legitimate user behavior."
Alt-right villains aside, some Star Wars fans are legitimately disappointed in The Last Jedi. With a host of news breaking about scenes and characters that were cut from the film, there's no telling who the movie might piss off next.
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