As Marvel’s latest superhero movie Black Panther draws praise and rakes in millions of dollars at the box office, Twitter trolls have emerged across the country attempting to stoke racial division by spreading false reports about the film’s largely Black fans.
Over the past few days, users have posted false claims that they were attacked by Black people while going to see Black Panther, the first movie from Marvel Studios led by a predominantly Black cast.
“It’s very unfortunate that a film that is poised to become a cultural icon is being marred by this fake news,” said Darnell Hunt, dean of social sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles. “In the long run, it will not detract from the cultural significance of Black Panther, but it does blunt some of the positive force it has as it opens. It is both surprising and not surprising.”
Women of Black Panther take their place in the spotlight
Article Continued Below
In the tweets, the posters frequently blame “Black youth” for the attacks, using images taken from various unrelated sources of bleeding and battered faces or images of blood in sinks and on towels.
“I was so excited to see #BlackPanther and a young black man at the theatre shouted ‘you in the wrong place, cracker!’ And proceeded to bloody my face. It hurts so bad I can’t take it!” Twitter user @RobloxZionist wrote.
The image that accompanies their tweet is of actor Jensen Ackles, who plays Dean Winchester on the TV series Supernatural, with makeup and fake blood on his face from a fight scene filmed on the show.
A user named @sharkwheat attempted to claim that a photo of a man beaten outside a Dallas nightclub in 2013 was of his brother assaulted while seeing Black Panther.
“#BlackPanther this is my older brother Kenan. He was jumped just trying to see the movie. ‘This movie ain’t for you whitey’ was the last thing he heard before he was beat up by 2 black men, rupturing his eardrum. He didn’t even make it inside of the movie theatre. Smh,” the tweet read.
One user even pulled the image that Colbie Holderness, an ex-wife of former White House staff secretary Rob Porter, shared when she wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post about the abuse she faced from Porter. The user claimed the photo of Holderness was an image of his wife after she was attacked when they went to see Black Panther.
Other Twitter users have been quick to call out trolls, noting where their images originally came from.