Racist trolls on Twitter want America to believe that there is an epidemic of racially-motivated violence breaking out at movie theaters screening the new "Black Panther" film.
Thankfully, Twitter is cracking down on the hoaxers and other internet users are calling them out.
The fake posts were first noticed on Thursday, when "Black Panther" premiered, according to CBS News. The Twitter users would post pictures of violence that had nothing to do with "Black Panther" — one tweet, for instance, showed a picture of former White House staff secretary Rob Porter's ex-wife (she has alleged that the photos were of her and that he had caused the bruises) — but the false claim was that the images depicted white people attacked by African-American moviegoers at screenings. Some claimed to have personally witnessed or been victimized by the attacks.
"I was so excited to see #BlackPanther and a young black man at the theater shouted 'you in the wrong place, cracker!' And proceeded to bloody my face. It hurts so bad I can't take it!" claimed a Twitter user who published a photograph of actor Jensen Ackles in makeup as proof, according to The Los Angeles Times. Another Twitter user posted a picture of a woman who was beaten by her boyfriend for refusing to get him a cigarette and claimed that it was taken after she was "brutally attacked by some black thugs" for trying to see the movie, according to the Miami Herald.
Still another Twitter user chose a picture of a Texas man who had been beaten outside of a nightclub in 2013 and told a story of how his brother "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 theater. Smh."
Twitter has already removed many of the posts, which would seem to be a step in the right direction for a company whose platform ostensibly prohibits malicious and false speech. One Twitter spokesperson explained the company's policy to TheWrap.
A Twitter spokesperson did not specify to TheWrap how many accounts have been suspended due to sham “Black Panther” attacks, or for how long. She emphasized that the social media company is not the arbiter of what is and isn’t real, but that the accounts are being suspended for a number of reasons outlined in its rules, including if tweets are “aggressive” or “malicious,” for example.
Other Twitter users have been sounding the alarm about the fake stories, in order to dissuade moviegoers from being scared away from the acclaimed flick.
Racist trolls are lying about assaults at 'Black Panther' showings https://t.co/FLgHTJycQM Of course they are.
— N. K. Jemisin (@nkjemisin) February 16, 2018
Twitter trolls are making flase claims of racially motivated assaults at "Black Panther" showings, and they're using photos of abused women to do it: https://t.co/O07H3BRA5g
— Craig Silverman (@CraigSilverman) February 16, 2018
People are out of their minds. This is ridiculous and outrageous. https://t.co/yJYyaE8hK9
— Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) February 17, 2018
Another Disgusting manifestation of white supremacy extremism. 😐
— Qasim Rashid, Esq. (@MuslimIQ) February 18, 2018
— Darren M. Haynes (@DarrenMHaynes) February 21, 2018
Did y'all hear about this...? People Are Posting Fake Stories Of Racially Driven Attacks At “Black Panther” Screenings https://t.co/PaBxa6cCP2
— Vanessa Williams (@NessaWilliams) February 20, 2018
Matthew Rozsa is a breaking news writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC. MORE FROM Matthew Rozsa
COMPLETELY AD FREE,
FOR THE NEXT HOUR
Read Now, Pay Later - no upfront
registration for 1-Hour Access
7-Day Access and Monthly
Subscriptions also available
No tracking or personal data collection
beyond name and email address