Prime Video and The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is being accused of buying praise from Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings YouTubers and influencers after the show has received positive critic reviews despite massive negative reviews from viewers.

Nazanin Boniadi as Bronwyn, Tyroe Muhafidin as Theo, Ismael Cruz Córdova as Arondir, Charlie Vickers as Halbrand in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

Not only has the show seen massive negative reviews from viewers, but Amazon announced a change to their review system that was confirmed by a Prime Video representative to Variety who reported that Prime Video “quietly introduced a 72-hour delay for all user reviews posted to Prime Video.”

The reviews are also “then evaluated to determine whether it’s genuine or a forgery by a bot, troll, or other breed of digital goblin.”

Morfydd Clark as Galadriel in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

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Now, YouTuber George The Giant Slayer posits that Prime Video has been buying praise from Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings YouTubers.

He first points to the numerous influencers Prime Video used in an attempt to hype the show when they flew them to a castle in Mallorca to view the first official trailer for the series. Next, George The Giant Slayer points to numerous influencers repeating the same talking points after meeting with the show’s showrunner Patrick McKay and JD Payne at an event in London.

However, the most damning evidence comes from YouTuber Hello Future Me, who polled his subscribers back in August asking whether he should take sponsorship from Amazon for a video on The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power when it premieres.

The YouTuber asked, “How do you feel about me taking a sponsorship from Amazon for my video on LOTR: Rings of Power when it premieres—if they don’t get any say in what I say? I’m conflicted. It’s free $$$ for a video I was gonna do anyway, but I really don’t want to be seen as an Amazon shill at all.”

Hello Future Me YouTube

He followed that post up  sharing an email he sent sent to Amazon that notes if he does indeed do the video “Amazon has no veto power over what I say in regards to commentary. This will actually make the video more authentic, and make my audience more likely to trust my thoughts on the show.”

Hello Future Me notes that after sending this email, Prime Video ghosted him, “Lol Amazon ghosted me as soon as I said they couldn’t pay me to control what I say about Rings of Power. Not a good look. I’m genuinely excited for House of the Dragon, though.”

Hello Future Me YouTube

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George The Giant Slayer commented on this revelation saying, “Trust is hard earned, but once you lose it, it almost never comes back. This is not a good look for Amazon Prime Rings of Power, but it’s to be expected they knew exactly what they had.”

He continued, “And that’s why over the last few weeks you’re getting this entire avalanche, this cataclysm of articles that are coming out and attacking not only the fellowship, not only all the fans, but they’re attacking the professor. They’re calling him a racist.”

Leon Wadhman as Kemen, Cynthia Addai-Robinson as Queen Regent Míriel, Trystan Gravelle as Pharazôn, Lloyd Owen as Elendil, Ema Horvath as Eärin, and Maxim Baldry as Isildur in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

He then closed out his video saying, “They’re bleeding inside. They are losing because if they are truly winning, you don’t care what anyone says. You’re like, ‘You don’t like it, great. You think it’s butchered, wonderful.’ When you’re winning you know it and you don’t need affirmation from anyone else.”

“So when you see whether it’s a company or an individual where they want to pay you to sing their praises of their show or of their product like it’s ice cream or sex, you know it’s a disaster,” he asserts.

He then concludes, “And if Rings of Power were a car, it’d be a lemon and we’d all under state law be able to return it back to the manufacturer for full refund.”

Maxim Baldry as Isildur and Cynthia Addai-Robinson as Queen Regent Míriel in Prime Video’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

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George The Giant Slayer’s accusations are also backed up via a report from Business Insider claiming that “Amazon will find a way, regardless of actual viewership, to sound the trumpets of victory.”

The article cites an anonymous former senior Amazon Studios executive claiming, “The reason why it’s going to succeed is because the executives at Amazon need it to succeed. If it doesn’t succeed, there’s going to be a big question from [Amazon’s Chief Executive Officer] Andy Jassy and the board.”

This alleged executive added, “If we can’t take this piece of IP and make it successful, why is Amazon Studios even here? It has to succeed. There’s no option.”

Sara Zwangobani as Marigold Brandyfoot, Markella Kavenagh as Elanor ‘Nari’ Brandyfoot, Megan Richards as Poppy Proudfellow, Beau Cassidy, and Dylan Smith as Largo Brandyfoot The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

On top of this SyFy Wire’s Dany Roth admitted back in 2019 that the access media creates fake positivity in order to maintain its access. He explained, “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.”

What do you make of these accusations that Prime Video is paying for praise?

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