The Last Jedi’ With Negative Reviews

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The Last Jedi’ With Negative Reviews

When The Last Jedi hit theaters last December, it was curiously, and surprisingly, hailed as the most divisive Star Wars movie of all time. Despite overwhelmingly positive reviews by critics (a 91 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), the film has an abysmal 49 percent rating by fans. Many of these haters vocally took issue with the film’s attempt at better representing women and people of color. Months after the film was released, star Kelly Marie Tran was driven off social media by racist harassment from internet trolls.

But, according to a new report, this vocal hatred for the movie was actually inflated by Russian trolls targeting the United States. A new paper by researcher Morten Bay at the University of Southern California “finds evidence of deliberate, organized political influence measures disguised as fan arguments,” he writes in the paper’s abstract. “The likely objective of these measures is increasing media coverage of the fandom conflict, thereby adding to and further propagating a narrative of widespread discord and dysfunction in American society. Persuading voters of this narrative remains a strategic goal for the U.S. alt-right movement, as well as the Russian Federation.”

Overall, Bay found that 50.9 percent of people tweeting negatively about the movie were likely “politically motivated or not even human,” he writes.

A bit of Morten’s research came out awhile ago and made some headlines – here’s his full paper. Looking forward to reading it, but what the top-line describes is consistent with my experience online.

— Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) October 1, 2018

The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson tweeted out a link to the study and added, “What the top-line describes is consistent with my experience online.”

An attack on a popular science fiction movie shows the incredible depth of Russian meddling in the United States. You can mess with our elections, our foundation as a democracy, our social and political fabric, but attacking our Star Wars? That’s a step far.

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