Michael Jordan famously said, “Republicans buy sneakers, too,” a comment he later revealed as something said in “jest.” That doesn’t strip the line of its wisdom, nor should it be ignored by corporations hoping to fatten their bottom lines. That lesson seems to be lost on Hollywood.
Others, like woke talker Jimmy Kimmel said goodbye to Republicans with his hard-Left monologues. “Not good riddance, but riddance,” Kimmel said on the subject.
Now, some artists are directly targeting fans they deem “toxic,” ignoring the important subtext to Jordan’s comments. Toxic fans consume content, too. Often far more than the average viewer.
The makers of Disney+’s “She Hulk: Attorney at Law” used its final episode to smash said fans without reservation.
Star Tatiana Maslany of “Orphan Black” fame told Variety the show exists to smite MCU trolls who reject having female superheroes in the first place. Remember the outrage over Wonder Woman and Black Widow’s existence? No one does, of course.
“As a cast, it was delightful sending each other these troll responses, like ‘Oh my god, give them a week and then they’re going to literally see this pop up verbatim in the show and become the villains of the show.’ It was thrilling.”Tatiana Maslany
The show’s head writer, Jessica Gao, piled on.
“Our writers room opened three years ago. The fact that we were able to predict what the reaction was going to be, what a lot of the trolling comments were going to be, really shows how very tired and unoriginal these trolls are.”Jessica Gao
It’s hardly an isolated case.
The creator behind Amazon Prime’s “The Boys” recently savaged so-called toxic fans in a vulgarity-laced assault.
That platform’s “Lord of the Rings” prequel series, “The Rings of Power,” similarly slammed toxic fans who either rejected the show’s forced diversity measures or claimed the series alienated hardcore Tolkien fans.
Geek-friendly director Kevin Smith said he wouldn’t dream of directing an MCU film for fear of toxic fan blowback. Smith felt similar pressure, he says, when he took on the “Masters of the Universe” property for Netflix.
Except a key reason for the blowback was Smith’s own doing. He denied his reboot sidelined He-Man in favor of female heroes. That’s exactly what the show did, and fans let Smith have it as a result.
Some fans get too passionate about geek-friendly content today, no doubt. A small fraction may share racially-charged thoughts about the products in question. A few are just plain ugly.
Others, though, may just be bloviating to grab a few extra likes or clicks. Or, they lash out because their own lives haven’t worked out the way they hoped.
They’re still fans. They watch the content in question religiously, debate its merits online and come back for more.
The media pours gasoline on this cultural fire, of course. If a fan doesn’t agree with aggressive diversity casting he or she is “racist,” without qualifiers. Should that same fan think “She-Hulk’s” cartoonish feminism distracts from a potentially intriguing show they’re now a “misogynist” or worse.
The 2016 dud “Ghostbusters” may have unofficially been the first time a Hollywood product singled out “toxic” fans. The franchise reboot, which reportedly lost Sony $70 million, included a scene where the budding Ghostbusters attack their online trolls.
The director, Paul Feig, added the sequence to directly attack the film’s critics.
The self-defeating tactic only grew worse from there.
One star actually took the high road when confronted by toxic fans. “The Boys’” co-star Erin Moriarty, who plays Starlight on the series, opened up about what she deemed abusive online comments about her.
She could have gone the Full She-Hulk. Instead, she took a more mature path.
“This does break my heart – I’ve opened up a vein for this role and this kind of trolling is exactly what this role (Annie) would speak out against … this has only strengthened my empathy muscle and to anyone who comes at me: I see you, I don’t hate you, I only empathise and forgive.”Erin Moriarty
Moriarty is the exception to the new Hollywood rule, alas.