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The Trolls Are Out of Control

by Melissa Silverstein
July 18, 2012 1:15 PM
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The Dark Knight Rises opens Friday.  Reviewers have seen the film, and the reviews are starting to come in.  It makes sense to people who process information intellectually that not everyone who sees the film will like it.  It's the way of the world.  Some things work for some people. 

It seems that movies about superheroes bring out the internet trolls in a big way when people criticize them.  Amy Nicholson from Box Office Magazine got major crap when she posted a review in April that had some issues with The Avengers.  I wrote a full post on this back when it happened.  Just to show that I am not exaggerating, here's one of the most offensive comments:

Bitch what the fuck is wrong with you, I knew there would be bad reviews from some people but not from spiteful assholes who bash shit for attention.

Now that The Dark Knight Rises reviews have come in and on Rotten Tomatoes there are 69 fresh and 11 rotten (as of 11am EST on July 18). Amy Nicholson wrote a review that is certified fresh, but had some issues and again she is getting trashed in the comments.  Some were so brutal they had to be removed from the site.

Here's one of the comments:

I'm complaining because a legitimate website,, has a ridiculously inadequate film critic... probably only there to "be a female voice" instead of be a "voice that knows what they're talking about." I'm also complaining because I don't just look at the tomato as "fresh" or "rotten" but I actually read their reviews.

The woman spent the entire review doing a 10th grade-level essay where the prompt was "Compare Dark Knight with Dark Knight Rises" instead of "Analyze Dark Knight Rises." It's not a film review.

Amy is not the only one who is getting bashed on this.  When Marshall Fine of Hollywood and Fine and Christy Lemire of AP both posted negative reviews, the trolls came out in force and clogged up Mr. Fine's site in disgust and sent out death threats to both of them.

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  • Tony Wu | July 19, 2012 1:25 AMReply

    Wow. I honestly thought the comments you posted were tame. Not that they weren't wrong and offensive, but is anybody who has read Internet comments for more than a couple weeks really surprised? Are you? What really bothers me about this post is that it seems as if the comments "got to" to writer, that it became such a big deal that her boss had to step in, and something motivated you to make this post here calling out the trolls.

    I really, honestly have this idealized image of bloggers and writers and whatnot, with a hide of steel where this stuff just rolls off your backs. If comments like the above upset you, I can't imagine what the hundreds of even worse comments I've read on others sites had to affect the writers there. Most of them are so horrible that the thought that they actually upset the writers is in itself upsetting. I'll have to be more vigilant in calling out trolling in future comments sections.

  • Friend of Journos | July 25, 2012 6:20 PM

    Most professions do not expose their work to anything close to the kind of public scrutiny online journalists do -- and mostly because commenters are such a vicious bunch. Most writers do develop a tough hide, or decide to ignore them altogether, but because toughness is not a necessary trait for a great writer or journalist, you also get people who take comments very personally. That's the most self-apparent response to a personal attack, right?

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