Screenshot: Disney (The Force Awakens)

If you waded through the pile of trash water-damaged after being submerged in white tears, just beneath the damp, charred Nike remains and shattered remnants of Keurig coffeemakers, you might find some moist movie posters from Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The paraphernalia probably won’t be as soaked as the stuff from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which is still damp from the public outcry when they realized that there might be black people in the future.

While it seemed perfectly logical to cast a black man as a character who escaped from a futuristic slave ship who went back to destroy the Death Star plantation, after people discovered that John Boyega, a black man, would star as a stormtrooper in the reboot of the iconic Star Wars franchise, there was outrage from white supremacist groups complaining about white genocide and wonder about why there was a black man on the screen who didn’t have a perm and wasn’t even holding a can of Colt 45.

But it turns out, none of that ever happened.

On Monday, Rian Johnson, who directed The Last Jedi, tweeted a link to a research paper by Dr. Morten Bay, a researcher for the Center for the Digital Future at USC Annenberg specializing in media, technology and communications policy, according to his LinkedIn profile.


Apparently, in what might be the greatest combination of geekdom and nerdism ever, Bay recently published a final draft of a research paper, Weaponizing the Haters: The Last Jedi and the Strategic Politicization of Pop Culture Through Social Manipulation.

After researching the social media profiles of those who were so vehemently opposed to the Star Wars version of the Harriet Tubman/Nat Turner story, Bay discovered a few interesting things:


  • Most people liked the movie: Although there were numerous stories about how fans were dissatisfied with The Last Jedi, only one in five (21.9 percent) of the tweets about the film were negative.
  • Most of the haters were trolls and bots: 50.9 percent of the negative tweets were politically motivated or not even human.
  • Some were “sock puppets:” Many of the accounts were dormant accounts or seemed to be computer generated right before the movie came out.
  • There were a lot of MAGA trolls: Almost a third of the tweets came from accounts who retweeted Trump or tweeted negatively about gays, feminists, blacks and, of course, the Jews.
  • And there were Russian bots: About half of the negative trolls “appear to be Russian trolls, or at least possess several of the Russian troll characteristics,” the paper explained


“First and foremost,” Bay’s paper concluded, “the data does not support claims that a majority of fans are so dissatisfied with The Last Jedi that they wish to boycott further Star Wars releases under Disney ownership.”

As if we didn’t already know this. Whenever something begins trending on Twitter, always remember that this is, in reality, a small, albeit vocal minority who have nothing better to do with their lives than to whine about how their Starbucks barista won’t say, “Merry Christmas” or complain that Target allows transgender people to use whichever bathroom they choose.

Aside from the fact that taking a dump at Target means, by definition, you literally have bigger shit to worry about, everyone knows that white boycotts are toothless.


Hopefully, Bay can focus on some important research, like how people managed to burn shoes made out of leather and rubber or why this woman can’t pronounce “coochie”:

May the force be with you.