SyFy Wire’s Dany Roth admitted that access media “plays softball” in order to maintain access with Hollywood celebrities and studios while discussing the recent Captain Marvel Rotten Tomatoes controversy.
On SyFy Wire’s podcast “Who Won The Week,” Roth and his co-hosts, SyFy Wire’s Contributing Editor Karama Horne and SyFy Wire’s Editor-in-Chief Adam Swiderski, were discussing the recent changes to Rotten Tomatoes following fans indicating they were not interested in seeing Disney’s upcoming Captain Marvel movie starring Brie Larson.
Roth admits to how the access media works, “Here’s the actual reality. Here’s where we actually are in the industry if you want to talk about quote access media. Every single person that wants to have access to things early, that wants to get access to things so that traffic is drawn to their site will on occasion. Everybody at this podcast, everybody in our industry occasionally has to play softball, occasionally has to look the other way a little bit. Everybody has to do it. In the sense that I hated a movie, but I won’t say that I hated a movie. Or an actor behaved a sort of way, and you don’t want to put it out there that that happened.” Horne chimes in, “Right, because you might not get the next review.” Roth continues, “To some degree everybody in our industry that is part of this quote on quote access media has to decide which battles they want to pick. Which of the ones where my voice is the one that has to get said.”
Rotten Tomatoes critic admits they give fake positive reviews to maintain their access. pic.twitter.com/A7w2qwPOom
— Dataracer (@Dataracer117) March 7, 2019
Roth’s statement about access media is in repose to Swiderski’s idea for Rotten Tomatoes to remove audience reviews entirely.
Swiderski states, “I think they should get rid of fans review entirely.” When asked to elaborate he did, “It’s not a right. They run a website. They run a business. Critic reviews are critic reviews and that’s fine. And listen this isn’t me saying fans can’t have an opinion. But this is a tool. It’s obviously being abused more than it is being used constructively especially around particular films that politically rub some people the wrong way for certain reasons. It’s why we can’t have a nice thing. It would be nice if people used it the way it’s supposed to be used, but no one is. So screw it, goodbye.”
Swiderski’s comments echo Samuel L. Jackson’s who also responded to the Captain Marvel Rotten Tomatoes controversy saying:
“The mere fact that you give a voice or a platform to people who normally don’t have a platform is part of the problem. You can have an opinion that you don’t really have to be responsible for because nobody’s going to see you, nobody’s going to challenge you on it and if you want to bring somebody down or just ruin somebody’s day, you can say anything. Everybody doesn’t want to be uplifting and that’s pretty much what that problem is.”
The whole controversy revolves around users indicating they were uninterested in seeing Disney’s Captain Marvel due to the subpar trailers as well as Brie Larson’s promotion of the film as a piece of feminist activism.
A number of media outlets spun the story that people were “review bombing” Captain Marvel before the movie came out. This was demonstrably false as users could not post an audience review score before the film was out. Nevertheless, these media outlets pushed that narrative with many of them claiming these people were “sexist trolls.”
Rotten Tomatoes would redesign their website removing the Want to See score in response to the media coverage. They would explain:
“As of February 25, we will no longer show the ‘Want to See’ percentage score for a movie during its pre-release period. Why you might ask? We’ve found that the ‘Want to See’ percentage score is often times confused with the ‘Audience Score’ percentage number. (The ‘Audience Score’ percentage, for those who haven’t been following, is the percentage of all users who have rated the movie or TV show positively – that is, given it a star rating of 3.5 or higher – and is only shown once the movie or TV show is released.)”
What do you make of Roth’s admission that “access media” gives positive reviews and refuses to cover certain people’s actions due to their fear of losing the access to the celebrities? What about Swiderski’s comments that appear to be an attempt to silence audience members who might have a vastly different opinion about a film compared to critics?