I see that “Snyder Cut” is trending this week, is this about Justice League, or are we getting a new edit of that talking owl movie?

This week, Rolling Stone published a lengthy article documenting how “fake accounts fueled the ‘Snyder Cut’ online army” – and while they also helped raise loads of money for suicide prevention charities, online Snyder fans are mostly known for filling the internet with “countless death threats and vile slurs” in the pursuit of getting Snyder’s director’s cut of Justice League released, which it famously was last year (along with some weird food tie-ins).

The report claims that Warner Brothers’ response to the targeted harassment was to commission “a series of reports from a third-party cybersecurity firm to analyze the trolling” who discover a “disproportionate number of bogus accounts.”

Wow, so all of those so-called “fans” were really robots?

Well … no. Despite the article’s claim that the fandom was “amplified by fake accounts” which “helped shake down a major studio,” experts found that only around 13% of the pro-Snyder accounts were “deemed fake.” This is apparently “well above the three to five percent that cyber experts say they typically see on any trending topic” – but still means that 87% of Snyder’s fervent internet fans are legit flesh-and-blood human beings.

Which isn’t an absolution of Snyder fandom – implicitly, a lot of the accounts posting abusive content are operated by real (horrible) people. But even Forbes pointed out that it’s hard to read that info and conclude that the studio was “duped into green-lighting the Snyder Cut with an inauthentically large fanbase massively inflated by bots.”

So was Zack Snyder himself involved? 

Maybe? The article makes several claims, seemingly trying to paint Snyder as the ringleader of this movement, but not entirely convincingly. Although Snyder's subsequent social media posts haven't exactly made it seem like he's not trying to lead an online army.

The article reports that, according to one source, Snyder “hired a digital marketing firm to juice fan engagement back in 2016” after “Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice was savaged by critics.” Which doesn’t seem that shocking. 

And a pro-Snyder website’s domain was, at one point, registered to someone who previously ran a “now defunct ad agency” that sold “cheap, instant Avatar traffic to your website.” Seemingly implying that the Snyder army began as a kind of PR campaign. According to an anonymous source, Snyder was “like a Lex Luthor wreaking havoc.”

But even if Snyder did kickstart this movement, that A) doesn’t necessarily make him responsible for its eventual toxicity, and B) wouldn’t be all that weird – Snyder wouldn’t be the first creative to stir up their fanbase following a career upheaval; from Conan O’Brien to Gene Roddenberry, who coordinated with Star Trek fans in order to promote the show’s cancellation, albeit more transparently. 

And, just to be clear, this isn’t a defense of the often-toxic elements of the pro-Snyder fandom, or even of Zack Snyder’s Justice League itself, a movie that features an honest-to-goodness scene involving slow-motion flying hot dogs. 

But from Snyder’s perspective, he was fired by a major Hollywood studio and replaced with an alleged serial harrasser who turned his, arguably flawed but earnest project, into a Frankensteined turd of a movie. Snyder’s Luthor-like “demands” outlined by Rolling Stone don’t even seem that unreasonable; he wanted “more money to finish his four-hour director’s cut of the film” and “access to intellectual property” – in other words, he wanted the funds to finish his unfinished movie, and a surprise cameo from a DC character in his DC movie. 

He also reportedly took a hard drive containing footage from the movie without permission, forcing the studio to notify security – which, to be honest, is kind of funny, and maybe even awesome? You have to admit, if this story was about, say, Paul Thomas Anderson rescuing There Will Be Blood from the clutches of a meddling studio, we’d all be cheering him on! But in this case, it happened to be in the service of a movie in which horny Icelanders sniff Aquaman’s sweater at one point.

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Top Image: Warner Bros. 

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