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Social media users falsely claim assaults during ‘Black Panther’ screenings

Danai Gurira in "Black Panther."

Danai Gurira in "Black Panther." Credit: Marvel Studios / Matt Kennedy

Internet trolls are spreading fake claims of violence at screenings of “Black Panther,” the historic movie poised to be 2018’s first blockbuster.

The film, set in a technologically advanced African country that was never colonized, is being hailed for its representation of black culture and has already broken records for ticket sales.

Some Twitter users, however, are trying to sabotage the movie with false claims of racially motivated assaults at screenings around the country.

Buzzfeed reports that one user, whose account has since been shut down, posted a photo of a 19-year-old Swedish woman who was assaulted at a bar last month with the caption, “I went to see #BlackPanther with my gf and a black teenager shouted ‘u at the wrong theater’ and smashed a bottle on her face.”

Another account used a photo of Colbie Holderness, an ex-wife of former White House staffer Rob Porter, with the caption, “Went to see the #BlackPanther premier [sic] tonight and my wife was assaulted. Three black women approached us and one said ‘This movie ain’t for you white [expletive] and then attacked her.” The photo shows Holderness with bruises on her face in a 2005 photo she shared with CNN.

However, other users on Twitter are noticing the lies and calling on the social media platform to ban the accounts.

“Twitter trolls are making flase [sic] claims of racially motivated assaults at ‘Black Panther’ showings,” tweeted Buzzfeed News Media editor Craig Silverman, “and they’re using photos of abused women to do it.”

User Renee DiResta tweeted at CEO Jack Dorsey writing, “Will Twitter take incitements to violence down, or hide behind not wanting to be “arbiters of truth” here too @jack? Do users need to fact-check them?”

This isn’t the first time “Black Panther” has been targeted. In recent weeks, groups have also tried attacking the movie’s score on IMDb and attempted to lower its Rotten Tomatoes’ online ratings, Teen Vogue reports.

As of Friday, the movie holds a 7.5 rating on IMDb and a 97 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes.

The Walt Disney Co. estimates that the superhero movie has earned $25.2 million from its Thursday screenings and is on pace to earn more than $165 million by the end of the four-day weekend.

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