As Batman battles Bane and Gotham City's other thugs in "The Dark Knight Rises," movie review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes is clashing with digital delinquents: Comment trolls who have forced the site to shut down its commenting feature.
The website suspended comments Tuesday on its page for "The Dark Knight Rises" after two negative reviews of the film, directed by Christopher Nolan, drew a flood of threatening, derogatory and misogynistic remarks about the authors.
On Monday, Rotten Tomatoes linked to Marshall Fine's write-up -- a "dissenting view," as he called it -- on his website Hollywoodandfine.com. By Tuesday, Rotten Tomatoes' page had more than 540 comments. On the first of 27 pages of remarks, four contain the word "die."
The same day, Associated Press critic Christy Lemire's negative review garnered 532 comments. Within the first 10 pages of comments, dozens have been flagged or removed.
Rotten Tomatoes' Editor-in-Chief Matt Atchity wrote a post condemning the commenters and explaining the site's ethics code, distilling his point down to one phrase: "don't be a dick."
"Marshall has the right to not like the movie, and people have the right to express their disagreement with him (although if you haven't seen the movie, your arguments may be on shaky ground)," he wrote. "And we have the right to pull your comment down and ban you if we think you're acting inappropriately."
Atchity told the New York Times that commenting will likely be restored Thursday or Friday, once more reviews are posted and more commenters have seen the actual film.