Did an alt-right fanboy group — supposedly unhappy with “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” over its alleged “feminist agenda” — game Rotten Tomatoes’ user ratings to push down the score? The website says the claim is hogwash.
“The Last Jedi” currently has a 92% aggregate critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes, making it “Certified Fresh” — but registers a score of just 54% among users. Out of nearly 135,000 ratings tabulated by the site as of Thursday, the average user rating was 3.2 out of 5. The marked discrepancy between critics and audiences was already apparent when the rankings first were released last week.
Now, someone affiliated with a Facebook group called “Down With Disney’s Treatment of Franchises and its Fanboys” has claimed that he enlisted bots to spam Rotter Tomatoes with negative reviews of “Last Jedi,” according to a report by the Huffington Post. That’s allegedly because he was angry about “Star Wars” producers emasculating characters like Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac).
“I’m sick and tired of men being portrayed as idiots,” the unnamed alt-righter told HuffPost. “There was a time we ruled society and I want to see that again. That is why I voted for Donald Trump.”
But it’s far more likely that thousands of disgruntled “Star Wars” fans are actually responsible for the weak Rotten Tomatoes user score. Asked about the claims outlined in the HuffPost piece, Rotten Tomatoes said the security team tasked with managing the scores hasn’t seen any unusual user activity that would indicate its scores have been successfully tampered with.
“For ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi,’ we have seen an uptick in people posting written user reviews, as fans are very passionate about this movie and the franchise,” a Rotten Tomatoes rep said, but the number of written reviews being posted by fans is comparable to 2015’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
“The authenticity of our critic and user scores is very important to Rotten Tomatoes and as a course of regular business, we have a team of security, network, social and database experts who closely monitor our platforms,” the rep added.
In any case, the low Rotten Tomatoes user rating hasn’t slowed down “The Last Jedi” at the box office: The Disney-Lucasfilm movie was poised to top $600 million worldwide Thursday, after just six days in wide release.
Rotten Tomatoes is part of NBCUniversal’s Fandango, which acquired the movie-ranking site in 2016 from Warner Bros.