NY Times Again Fights Conservative ‘Trolls’ in Service of Billion-Dollar Movie Industry

It pays to have the right “troll” enemies: The New York Times has three times of late come to the rescue of poor, persecuted Marvel Studios, the capitalist Hollywood behemoth getting by on several billion dollars of box office returns.

First up: Guardians of the Galaxy. Times Hollywood reporter Brooks Barnes took the pro-Gunn side in Saturday’s paper, after Galaxy director James Gunn was reinstated after being fired last year for having made pedophile jokes on Twitter. Perhaps it was the identity of the liberal anti-Trump Gunn’s main enemies, Mike Cernovich and Jack Posobiec, right-wing Trump-supporting provocateurs.

Disney is taking back James Gunn, the creative force behind its “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie franchise, reversing its contentious decision in July to fire the filmmaker for offensive jokes he wrote on Twitter several years ago.

The tweets by Mr. Gunn, who wrote and directed the Marvel superhero film “Guardians of the Galaxy” in 2014 and delivered a smash sequel in 2017, contained jokes about pedophilia, AIDS, rape and the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Two far-right provocateurs, Mike Cernovich and Jack Posobiec, threw a spotlight on the comments — written between 2009 and 2012 — after Mr. Gunn harshly criticized President Trump online.

Disney executives seemed to acknowledge on Friday that they made a misstep of their own in almost immediately firing Mr. Gunn in the aftermath: At the time, “Guardians” cast members condemned the decision as an overreaction to the “mob mentality” of the internet….

Gunn had both the right enemies and showed the right amount of groveling remorse, as opposed to comedian Kevin Hart, booted from his Academy Awards hosting job after anti-gay comments resurfaced.

Mr. Gunn’s response stood in contrast to how other stars have reacted in similar situations. Kevin Hart, for instance, was initially defensive when his past anti-gay comments on Twitter resurfaced in December after he was named host of the Academy Awards telecast. Mr. Hart did not apologize at first, instead posting a video online in which he said: “Guys, I’m almost 40 years old. If you don’t believe that people change, grow, evolve as they get older, I don’t know what to tell you.”

Six hours later, he stepped down as Oscar host and offered a perfunctory apology.

In the same vein of the Times taking on opponents to boost box office bottom lines, Friday’s “In her words” feature by Maya Salam relayed “Captain Marvel”’s victory over superhero fans who didn’t appreciate star actress Brie Larson’s pre-release lectures on who is allowed to express opinions on movies: “Trolls Tried to Sink ‘Captain Marvel.’ She Triumphed. — Those who targeted the new superhero film were, in part, incited by comments made by its star, Brie Larson, who called it a ‘big feminist movie.’”

Again the Times, in the name of liberal tolerance, rides to the rescue of a multi-billion dollar company, Marvel Studios.

Trolls tried to torpedo the new “Captain Marvel” movie — but in the end, the shero Carol Danvers (who’s been Captain Marvel in the comic books since 2012) prevailed. The film sailed past $500 million in ticket sales in its first week.

It’s a defense of Larson’s petulant embrace of intersectional feminism similar to that from Times reporter Cara Buckley, but with more snark.

But “Captain Marvel” is not the only recent female-led film in the comic or sci-fi realm to be swarmed by trolls. As my colleague Cara Buckley wrote this week: “The all-female remake of ‘Ghostbusters,’ ‘Black Panther’ and ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi,’ which had a diverse cast, all found themselves in the cross hairs of armchair critics, some aligned with alt-right groups.”

Salam got around to the rude remarks that triggered the anti-Larson brigade in the first place, while wrapping up the final act by portraying Larson as the triumphant victor over the hateful trolls.

…. Last year, Larson vowed to seek out more underrepresented journalists after noticing she was being interviewed by mostly white men. She had a similar critique about film critics: “I do not need a 40-year-old white dude to tell me what didn’t work for him about ‘A Wrinkle in Time.’ It wasn’t made for him.”

She also told “Entertainment Tonight” that the vision for the film was clear during an early meeting with Marvel: Make “a big feminist movie.”

Even if the trolls tried to stop her, make a big feminist movie she did.

This article was originally posted here.

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