Twitter trolls used the Black Panther screenings to spread racially motivated hate with fake reports about violence. Some disturbed individuals claimed African-American moviegoers assaulted them for being Caucasian and trying to watch the film.
The fake claims started popping up on Thursday during the initial screening of Black Panther ahead of its official Friday release. Trolls shared photos of Caucasian men and women with bloody and battered faces, allegedly victims of the physical assault that happened at the preview.
"Was at the #blackpanther premiere but a group of black youths said this movie wasnt for me. I am white. They then proceeded to assault me. Im heading to the ER now," one user captioned a photo of a bloody towel.
"They threw me out of the theater and said it wasn't 'my movie. ' I don't have insurance and can't see Black Panther," reads the caption of a photo with a man whose eyes are covered shot from bruises.
"I went to see #Black Panther with my gf and a black teenager shouted 'u at the wrong theater' and smashed a bottle on her face," reads another fake report with a photo of a woman with her face covered in blood.
Fake posts are being created to make black people look bad and the sad part of it is some people will believe them #BlackPanther pic.twitter.com/XzNMoxFmWs — Trapa Fasa (@trapafasa) February 16, 2018
Some #Trolls are using images of battered women to make their #falseclaims. This tweet includes photos of an 18-year-old woman who was locked in an apartment by her boyfriend and #assaulted for 4 hours. He later pled #GUILTY to 2 charges of assault. #BlackPanther pic.twitter.com/4YcnkKngmB — Treason to Americans (@TheGOPTreason) February 18, 2018
Yep...another fake #BlackPanther assault tweet. What type of RESPONSE do you think these fake tweets really want to incite? @kylegriffin1 #WakandaForever @JamilSmith @BrookeCNN #RobPorter @ddale8 pic.twitter.com/dzphwj4h6w — #BernieWouldHaveWon (@trayNTP) February 16, 2018
However, fans immediately used their photo-sleuthing skills and debunked the claims as fake. The photos provided by the Twitter trolls were either from a different assault case or from media sharing websites such as Flickr.
Fact-checking the reports revealed that the woman who was allegedly hit on the head was actually a 19-year-old Swedish woman who got attacked at a bar in Malmo. The photo of the bloody towel was taken from a Flickr post in 2009. Twitter has suspended the account behind these two fake claims.
Meanwhile, the man with bruised eyes is 23-year-old Michael Voller. He was attacked over an argument about soccer in London in May 2017 and not at a Black Panther screening.
The Los Angeles police also confirmed that there have been no calls about any assault or disturbances at theaters showing Black Panther. Other Twitter users also called out the claims as fake. Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn also debunked the claims.
"The racists are out and rearing their ugly heads with lots of fake tweets about violence at #BlackPanther screenings. In truth, people from all walks of life have been enjoying the film together this weekend. Don't let this BS scare you away," Gunn tweeted.
Despite the online attack, Black Panther received praises from all viewers, African-American or Caucasian. The film is even on track to earn $205 million at the box office for opening weekend.