In Plain Sight: How White Supremacy, Misogyny, and Hate Targeted the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy and Won

What Will Be Discussed:

Defining 21st Century Culture Wars: Gamergate, Cambridge Analytica, & The Rise of the Alt-Right

What is Gamergate?

White Nationalism Targets the Star Wars Franchise

Racist tweets against Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens by “Paul Kersey’s” Twitter account under the username BWLH_ including the tweet that started the #BoycottStarWarsVII hashtag

The New Gamergate: The Rise of Alt-Right Ideology in Star Wars Fandom

Was The Last Jedi Polarizing?: A Twitter Analysis

Wordcloud of top words used in tweets mentioning “The Last Jedi” from December 2017 to November 2018 (min. frequency = 10,000)
Breakdown of account professions/affiliations for positive and negative tweets before accounting for political motivations
Dave Rubin, host of right-wing alternative talk show Rubin Report, disparages actor Mark Hamill for suggesting that women should hold positions of power and critiques plot points of The Last Jedi
A pro-Trump account and conservative satirical writer mock Rose Tico in anti-The Last Jedi Twitter comments

All Roads Lead to YouTube: An Analysis

YouTuber Vito Gesualdi, who has one of the top viewed videos against The Last Jedi, tweets a racial slur
Videos from IDRLabs’ YouTube channel promoting anti-feminist hate against Star Wars and radical right-wing views against leftist politics. Most of these videos lead back to personality tests.

The Star Wars Alt-Right Recruitment Problem

  1. They are, indeed, nothing but a replication and continuation of Gamergate
  2. They can be highly profitable
  3. They play a considerable role in alt-right radicalization
Wordcloud of YouTube video titles from 20 anti-The Last Jedi YouTubers (min frequency = 130)
Videos from Star Wars YouTubers pushing pro-Donald Trump sentiment and attacking Leslie Jones
Videos by Star Wars YouTubers push white supremacist ideology to create an “us” vs “them” narrative against diversity
Alt -right Star Wars YouTubers attack female characters, actresses, and directors across multiple pop-culture franchises
Star Wars YouTubers push anti-feminist agenda against the President of Lucasfilm
Est. Min and Max earnings from YouTube ad revenue for channel lifetime
(L) Alt-right associated account MauLer tweets about his massive jump in subscribers following anti-The Last Jedi videos; (R) Alt Right YouTubers in the Star Wars fandom have channels that can total hundreds of millions of views
Videos from DDayCobra, the personal account of Geeks + Gamers, pushing pro-Trump sentiment, including positive views of Capitol Insurrection
Before right-wing social media site Parler was pulled from Amazon’s servers, DDayCobra perpetuated fear against the US government and mainstream media that there is a plot to “come after” right-wing American citizens
Videos from Timcast pushing right-wing/alt-right ideology including videos against mainstream media and “Antifa riots”
Right-wing reactionary Jordan Peterson opens several of ComicArtstPro Secrects’ videos with plugs on his book 12 Rules For Life
Alt-right Star Wars blogger ItchyBacca cheers on the Proud Boys as they storm the Capitol on January 6th, 2021

How Far Right Hate Turns Into Fact

The Danger of “Click Bait” Headlines

Socks, Bots, and Super Users

Dan Murrell, writer and producer of the comedy show “Honest Trailers” comments on abusive Last Jedi hate

Hashtags and “Boycotts”

Top tweet mentioning “The Last Jedi” between 2017 and 2018 that uses the “#lastjediawful” tag
Solo: A Star Wars Story Ron Howard entertains the idea that Solo’s box office result was due to backlash against The Last Jedi
Ben Shapiro tweets about how Solo’s flaws as a film are due to the poor handling of the sequel trilogy

Lack of Education About the Dangers of Online Conversation

Women, especially women of color, are targeted by alt-right groups with organized mass downvoting on YouTube
Host of YouTube Channel “Echo Base Network” spreads conspiracies about US Election on Parler

The Generational Cost of Hate: The Alt Right’s Successful Political Attack against Progressive Culture

The Targeting of Progressive and Diverse Creatives

ComicArtistPro Secrets (Ethan Van Sciver) on his second Parler account named after his comic book “Cyberfrog:Bloodhoney” laughs at a death threat he made towards Kathleen Kennedy
An example of the tweets that sent racist harassment towards Ireland and Arielle
Posobiec, whose rise in the alt-right is heavily tied to white supremacists and neo-nazis, falsely spreads racist narrative on Twitter
In a deleted Periscope, Posobiec supports the firing of Wendig
(L) A comicsgate supporter gives credit to Comicsgate for the firing of Wendig; (R) Posobiec spreads old tweets from Gunn, which eventually lead to the Guardians of the Galaxy director being fired by Marvel
An example of hateful comments underneath Tran’s Instagram posts
Alt-right personality posts misogynistic tweet about Tran
Rose Tico’s Wookiepedia page is edited to include racist language and ableist slurs and tells Tran’s character to die.
ComicArtistPro Secrets (Ethan Van Sciver) edits a 1 hour video slicing through Kelly Marie Tran’s action figure

Mission Completed: The Rise of Skywalker Retcons The Last Jedi

What We Never Learned From Gamergate

About The Author

Methodology

Twitter Analysis

  1. A historical sample of tweets mentioning “The Last Jedi” or “#TheLastJedi” between 12/15/2017 and 11/30/2018 (n=1,048,576). Tweets were originally pulled to compare tweets mentioning “The Last Jedi” with tweets mentioning “The Force Awakens” for research purposes only. Tweets were pulled periodically between September 2019 and April, 22 2020.
  2. A historical sample of tweets mentioning “#LastJediAwful.” Tweets mentioning “Last Jedi Awful” were removed from the data to focus on the hashtag. Remaining tweets included 6,436 tweets between December 29th, 2017 to February 13, 2021. Data is correct as of February 13, 2021.
  3. A historical sample of tweets mentioning “#BoycottSolo.” Tweets mentioning “Boycott Solo” were removed from the data to focus on the hashtag. Remaining tweets included 4,713 tweets between January 7th, 2018 to February 12, 2021. Data is correct as of February 12, 2021.
  1. The majority of the account must have been dedicated to pushing right-wing political ideology that included characteristics of alt-right or radical right wing spaces including anti-feminist rhetoric and targeting of female creators, targeting of people color or use of “anti-white” language, conspiracy theories, and/or excessive use of Gamergate era terminology such as “SJW.”

YouTube Analysis

--

--

--

A podcast on feminism and fandom in the age of social media

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Get the Medium app

Rewriting Ripley

Rewriting Ripley

A podcast on feminism and fandom in the age of social media

More from Medium

Why is Keir Starmer Making Labour Unelectable?

The State of Virtual Discussion:

Out There: Artist Series №37