Over the years, social media has become the perfect platform for the stereotypical “the boy who cried wolf” syndrome. Many have used this friendly and ever-changing podium as means to capitalize on the falsified news, share anti-progressive gossip and drive the perpetuation of racism within America.
Catering to the average Americans fears, political views, and feverish controversies, these individuals are distorting reality to gain attention. Once again, these antics have surged the internet exploiting two very widespread subjects: racial assault and brutality against women.
While Black Panther, the extremely anticipated Marvel flick, successfully reached $170 million in its debut weekend, it was also met with excessive and unnecessary controversy.
Twitter users took to the internet pinching photos of assault victims from various corners of the web and professed them as proof of black on white violence at the Black Panther debut. The images used to achieve such a reaction were taken from a wide range of content; from actual depictions of domestic violence to fictional videos intended for raising awareness of domestic violence all dating as far back as 2013.
In one tweet, Twitter user Hardcorial stole selfies which were distributed online in 2016 by a woman attempting to speak out about her abuse. The Twitter user claimed to have been “brutally attacked” by “black thugs” while attending, “because they said whites weren’t allowed to watch the movie.” This was completely bogus!
The hoax reached extreme levels misusing stock images, accounts of sexual assault and retellings of witnessed attacks. One Twitter user claimed to have witnessed an attacked his wife:
“Went to the #BlackPanther premier tonight and my wife was assaulted. Three black women approached us and one said “This movie ain’t for you white b****” and then attacked her. Security escorted us to the parking lot and we left. We just wanted to see a movie.”
Twitter was quick to jump into action by suspending the accounts of many frauds. Yet, the preposterous content had already created a splash, spawning parody tweets and friction amongst many.
This kind of deception has sparked a very real fear for many moviegoers; both black and white viewers have voiced concerns about the possibility of targeting while attending the cinema.
This fear is not emerging out of nowhere: Black Panther’s debut weekend trails behind the deadliest mass school shooting in half a decade. Also in 2012, a mass shooting occurred during the opening weekend of The Dark Night Rises. As tensions rise, Black Panther has taken on a heavily politicized reputation.
Was this a possible ploy to scare people away from the game-changing film with such a diverse cast? Such acts have previously been manipulated to build disruptive behavior and extreme political environments.
Nevertheless, existing in such an extreme world requires critical thinking and some amount of skepticism. Achieving a 98% critical approval on Rotten Tomatoes, Black Panther is worth the venture to the cinema!
Image via Buzzfeed