Last week, negative comments for “Captain Marvel” led internet review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes to remove their audience scores across the website. This caused a major firestorm across the industry. I wrote:
“This was inevitable. “Captain Marvel” is having the sort of backlash from from fans across the internet that is very reminiscent of the 2016 all-female “Ghostbusters” reboot. It all seems to stem from not just the upcoming film, starring Brie Larson, as being the first Marvel movie with a female lead, but also due to the no-holds-barred, anything goes, interviews Larson has been giving to the media whilst promoting the film. The highly politicized interviews seem to have been a chance for Larson to chime in with some perpetual feminist messaging. Alas, this has rubbed many the wrong way, mostly men I would presume, and here we are today with Rotten Tomatoes deciding to completely remove the ‘not interested’ option along with all of Captain Marvel’s voter comments (30,000 of them). The only option left now is “want to see,” similar to what Facebook did with likes only—no option to have a differing opinion.”
In 2018, Anti-GamerGate personality and game developer Brianna Wu ran as a Democrat candidate in the primary election for Massachuset’s 8th Congressional District. Surprisingly, despite the handicap of having no experience whatsoever in politics, Wu garnered 22.9% of the district’s vote, but ultimately lost the election. However, Wu’s stock has been rising ever since and she has once again announced her candidacy for 2020. Her major causes of support seem to be an emphasis on government regulation concerning internet relations.
On March 6th, Wu appeared on Bloomberg Technology, hosted by the excellent Emily Chang. The conversation quickly turned into a nutty one though, when the topic of fanboy backlash towards “Captain Marvel” was mentioned.
“It’s kind of a familiar story at this point, right? We were here with Ghostbusters. It seems like any time a woman steps forward and tries to put her toe in the water for a male dominated field, we’re right back here.”
Wu was then asked about internet privacy in social media platforms:
I feel like part of the backlash of women just being exhausted with being targeted online, it makes sense that people would want to move towards more private social profiles. I think it’s hand in hand. I think it’s just exhausting for all of us dealing with this stuff.”
When asked if legislation needs to be introduced to better control online hostilities, Wu answered, “I think that there is certainly a role in Washington for us to address what women face both in the tech industry, and what users face on the other side.”.
Wu then claims that Captain Marvel was attacked by mostly fanboys and trolls because it featured a female lead in the role. However, the film has garnered mixed reviews since its release, this past Wednesday, currently holding a mediocre 65 Metacritic score. Wu’s claims that the backlash stems from misogynist harassment and that more legislation is needed to combat the negative reviews:
Wu: I think there is certainly a role in Washington for us to address what women face both in the tech industry and what users face on the other side. Something we’ve seen is really big promises from Facebook, from Twitter, from Reddit, from all these companies, that they’re going to address this situation. For me, looking at this in 2019, it’s very hard for me to point at one thing that has concretely changed for women in the tech industry. So I do think Washington has a role to play.”
I think it starts with letting these companies know that Washington is going to take it seriously. In the video game industry, famously, they held hearings about violence in the 90s, and then the video game industry looked at it and said ‘Oh, if we don’t get serious about this, they’re going to regulate our field.’ And then our industry formed the ESRB and self-regulated, and it works amazingly well.”