Black Panther Mania
Around Febuary of 2018, the very popular Black Panther movie was premiering. With the premier there was also a wave of allegations that young African-American populations were targeting white moviegoers that were going to see the new Marvel movie. Many of these stories originated on twitter and spread from there, gaining traction on social media platforms. These posts were often accompanied by graphic pictures showing people bleeding or implying severe injury and text blaming young African-Americans for the assault. One reads, “Was at the Black Panther premiere but a group of black youths said this wasn’t for me. I am white. They then proceeded to assault me. I’m heading to the ER now.” Despite these strong allegation, after reviewing several sources and cross checking information, it became clear that these alleged assaults were nothing but unsubstantiated claims protruded by fake social media accounts, contributing to the dump of misinformation on the internet.
After an in-depth background check on the story, discrepancies and consistent flaws continued to arise from these very serious assertions. After searching for additional information on these stories, it soon became apparent that they were in fact made up. Several websites, including the fact checking website Snopes and the reliable Independent publication, had articles on this specific story. None of these sources directly refuted the claim that African-Americans had beat anyone at any of the many movie theatres in the United States, however the sources do refute the reliability of the specific accounts used to spread these rumors. In their article, Snopes reveals that the picture in the specific tweet mentioned above was in fact taken several years ago in 2009. This same report was given for several other tweets where a picture was accompanied. One account tried to assume the identity of a man after posting a headshot of the man in the hospital with two black eyes with the caption,”they threw me out of the theatre and said it wasn’t ‘my movie’. I dont have insurance and cant see #blackpanther.” After an image search, it was found that this was in fact a picture of Michael Voller, who was pictured after a fight at a professional soccer match a year earlier.
The claims made by the fake tweets were never supported. There were no reports found of any group or individual beatings by African Americans upon any caucasians or any other minority group. Also, as stated above, these accounts were proven to be using fake pictures to support the unproven claims. Many of the pictures were taken years in advance before they were used in this scam. The lack of reliability and the suspicion of ‘internet trolling’ was so great that Twitter had many of these misleading accounts banned.
While using social media to stay connected with your friends and keep a vast amount of relationships in unison is a good thing, sometimes the things you read or hear are not always true. This story right here is a great example of how fake news can make its way into and effect our lives. Staying up to date on current events and questioning stories that do not seem reliable, or that do not come from reliable sources, are great ways to make sure you are not being deceived by the vast amounts of misinformation that seem to linger on the internet.
Lusher, Adam. “Don’t Fall for These Fake Attacks at Black Panther Screenings.” The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 17 Feb. 2018, www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/black-panther-racism-trolls-fake-news-twitter-race-attacks-whites-assaulted-film-movie-screenings-a8215226.html.
“FACT CHECK: Are White People Being Assaulted at Showings of ‘Black Panther’?” Snopes.com, Snopes, www.snopes.com/fact-check/are-white-people-being-assaulted-at-showing-of-blac