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How fake accounts and a riled fanbase restored Justice League

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Zack Snyder
Photo: Jamie McCarthy (Getty Images)

Dealing a crushing blow to the validity of the RestoreTheSynderVerse movement and the Flash’s Oscar win for “most cheer-worthy moment,” Rolling Stone released a bombshell report earlier today detailing the ways fake accounts bolstered the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut campaign that ruined social media a few years ago and left us stuck with an even longer version of Justice League.

As hard as it is to believe, a good chunk of Snyder Cut champions were bots or fake accounts, some of which, according to Rolling Stone, Snyder helped whip into a frenzy between the first release of Justice League until well after Snyder’s version bowed on HBO Max. Two reports commissioned by WarnerMedia showed that “at least 13 percent of the accounts that took part in the conversation about the Snyder Cut were deemed fake.” The norm on Twitter is roughly three to five percent, so, as the outlet reports, “real stans were amplified by a disproportionate number of bogus accounts.”

One report concluded:

After researching online conversations about the Snyder Cut of Justice League‘s release, specifically the hashtags ‘ReleaseTheSnyderCut’ and ‘RestoreTheSnyderVerse’ on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, [the analysts] detected an increase in negative activity created by both real and fake authors. One identified community was made up of real and fake authors that spread negative content about WarnerMedia for not restoring the ‘SnyderVerse.’ Additionally, three main leaders were identified within the authors scanned on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram — one leader on each platform. These leaders received the highest amount of engagement and have many followers, which gives them the ability to influence public opinion.

But the report is even more damning for Snyder, whom Rolling Stone all but accuses of actively manipulating the media and weaponizing his fanbase against studio executives and journalists. As one source told the outlet, “Zack was like a Lex Luthor wreaking havoc.” After 2019, when popularity surrounding the Snyder Cut movement led to your standard series of death threats and memes depicting the decapitated heads of Warner Bros. executives being sent to the families of said execs, Snyder continued to leverage his fanbase. In one instance, he allegedly warned a reporter who published a story about a Flash casting announcement he took issue with that his fans “are pretty, pretty, pretty rough.”

According to the report, much of Snyder’s ire toward Warner Bros. regarding the release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League was over the producers’ credit originally given to Geoff Johns and Jon Berg. Cyborg actor Ray Fisher previously accused Johns and Berg of enabling director Joss Whedon, who Fisher alleged was abusive on the set of Justice League. Snyder wanted their names off the Snyder cut, and after they took too long doing so, he told an executive, “Geoff and Jon are dragging their feet on taking their names off my cut. Now, I will destroy them on social media.”

The piece also more or less accuses Snyder of paying for the Snyder Cut publicity stunts, like that Times Square ad (the article states that these can cost more than $50,000 a day) and a plane flying over Comic Con advertising Synder’s cut. Snyder denied that and most of the claims made in the piece. But as one source put it, these stunts were “just more orchestrated bullshit from Zack.”

The whole report is a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at a movie that simply should not be, one the studio deemed a “full-on failure” when the original cut screened in 2017. But one quote from an anonymous insider in the piece explains why: “$73 million while people were losing their jobs at the studio for a director’s cut of a film that already lost hundreds of millions.”

Read the whole report, which includes stolen hard drives, the web of conspiracy surrounding the fake accounts, and the war to get Martian Manhunter in the movie.

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