If that headline seems familiar, that’s because it is: Two years after an earlier iteration of the same loose collection of petulant misanthropes “declared victory” over the very profitable and very well-reviewed Star Wars: Episode VII—The Force Awakens, a self-declared “alt-right” group with the absolutely ridiculous name of Down With Disney’s Treatment of Franchises and its Fanboys (DWDTFF) has “declared victory” over the also very popular and very well-reviewed Star Wars: Episode VIII—The Last Jedi.
A representative of the group, which is almost certainly convinced that they are the victims here, reached out to The Huffington Post to claim credit for something that has been puzzling observers since the film’s release last weekend: Its relatively low Rotten Tomatoes audience score—currently standing at 54 percent—compared to its overwhelmingly positive critical score (92 percent) and massive box office success. (It’s already made more than $573 million worldwide, and is expected to cross the $600 million mark this weekend.) So how did they do it? A desperate, last-minute suicide mission into the heart of Rotten Tomatoes to destroy a vulnerable exhaust port that leads to the room where they cut critics’ bribery checks from Disney? (Still waiting on those, by the way.) Nah. They used bots—and shitty ones, at that.
Apparently, the moderator of the DWDTFF page quickly took credit for sabotaging The Last Jedi’s Rotten Tomatoes audience score, citing Lucasfilm’s erasure of the Star Wars Expanded Universe when Disney took over and, more importantly, the presence of girls in the Rebel Alliance as the reasons for his hatred of the new films. “Regarding female heroes: Did you not see everything that came out of Ghostbusters? That is why. I’m sick and tired of men being portrayed as idiots. There was a time we ruled society and I want to see that again. That is why I voted for Donald Trump,” the self-proclaimed member of the “alt-right” tells HuffPo. “Han and Luke were written as incompetent father figures who are deadbeats, Poe is a victim of the ‘anti-mansplaining’ movement, and you just know they’ll turn the both of them gay,” this well-adjusted adult writes.
A more prescient comparison for the DWDTFF might be the bumbling General Hux, however, considering that the unspecified program—which HuffPo’s source claimed was “classified” immediately before taking credit for it—accidentally sent some of its negative reviews to the Rotten Tomatoes page for The Shape Of Water instead, leading to reviews that say things like, “to slow, unnessisary side story about a casino, WHO WAS SNOKE!!!!, and Rose is annoying” in the user reviews section for Guillermo Del Toro’s latest. For its part, a Rotten Tomatoes spokesperson thinks that DWDTFF is full of shit, and is retroactively searching for evidence to prop up a false claim.
You almost feel sorry for them: A ragtag group of rebels going up against a massive media empire that can’t even identify with the ragtag group of rebels in their favorite movie anymore, because it’s been ruined by—um—the presence of women and people of color. Never mind, these guys suck.