Violence Shocks Critic Who Received Death Threats over 'Dark Knight' Review

There's no comparison, says reviewer Marshall Fine, an Ossining resident, between the online furor and the tragedy that took place at a Colorado theater.

Marshall Fine was taken aback by death threats this week after he wrote a negative review of the new film, “The Dark Knight Rises," on RottenTomatoes.com.

This morning, he was shocked by the deaths at a premiere of the movie in Colorado.

"There were so many nasty comments which they construed as death threats," said Fine today. "There were also some fairly misogynistic comments towards Christy Lemire from the Associated Press, who had the second negative review, that they stopped the comments and are rethinking their comment policy, in terms of whether or not they should allow anonymous comments anymore."

Fine said he was taken aback when he started seeing the responses to his review—and by the media attention.

"I was surprised at the volume of the thing—how big the response was to my review—it did surprise me. I got a lot of emails from friends saying 'Are you okay?'" said Fine. "I personally don't feel as though I was ever specifically threatened. I don't feel threatened by anonymous comments on a thread on a website. I didn't get threatening emails. I didn't get telephone calls or anything. It's pretty easy to be courageous and make threats anonymously when you're sitting in your basement on the Internet."

Now, he is watching the Colorado shooting story unfold online and on television at his Ossining home.

A Huffington Post blogger, he wrote about the contrast this morning.

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"It's tragic and it says a lot about how easy it is to get these kinds of weapons and go into a theater and do something like this," said Fine. "I think that when all the facts come out, we'll find it had nothing to do with the movie itself. This is a guy who was looking for an opportunity to do something and thought, 'Where can I find the most people in one place while they're showing that first showing—that'll be packed—that's where I'll go.'"

On his website, hollywoodandfine.com, Fine wrote today regarding the tragedy in Colorado and the online threats against him. Here's the opening:

Me and Batman: Some perspective

As the minor media frenzy about me being the first critic to post a negative review of “The Dark Knight Rises” reached its mini-crescendo on Wednesday (when I actually had six requests for interviews – five of them from Canadian outlets – about so-called “death threats” on Rotten Tomatoes aimed at me), I kept thinking to myself, “This must really be a slow news week if I’m the headline.”

As if to prove the point, actual news happened last night in the form of a tragedy, when someone walked into a suburban Denver multiplex and killed more than a dozen people. And it happened at a midnight show of “The Dark Knight Rises.”

So let me say two things: First of all, while there is nothing yet in the news reports about the deranged individual who shot those people, I’d be willing to bet there was no relationship between his crime and the movie itself. He would have done this anyway; “TDKR” simply offered a location where he was guaranteed to have a crowd on which he could open fire.

Second, while I’ve been held up this week as the “victim” of death threats, at no point did I ever actually receive a personal threat. Anonymous and violent rants posted to Rotten Tomatoes (and even a couple to my website)? Come on – I mean, I understand why Rotten Tomatoes closed down comments for the movie because some of the stuff posted about me and Christy Lemire of Associated Press was pretty vile.

And I understand why Indiewire used the words “death threats” in their headline. As we used to say, that’s what sells newspapers (or, in this case, drives page-views).

But I did not feel threatened. As I said in a couple of interviews, there were no crowds with pitchforks and torches storming my house. These were just people spouting off, venting anger; I happened to be the target. But it’s not as if I was receiving phone calls or even emails directly; I was the subject of anonymous posting. It’s easy to have courage when you’re sitting alone at the keyboard in your home, behind the cloak of anonymity.

Read more on his blog post at hollywoodandfine.com


Teleman July 23, 2012 at 11:03 PM
Most in the industry know the inherent reliability problems with those magazines and stay away from them- thankfully that unreliability may have helped save some lives due to the probable malfunction. The military trialed them and found them unreliable- so I don't know anyone who uses them.
Dan Seidel July 24, 2012 at 01:43 PM
Justification for 100 round mags: After WW2, in Athens, Georgia, the returning GIs found they had to do armed battle with the local police, sheriff and a pitched armed battle did take place - it's called the Battle of Athens. The Citizens, to keep the Constitution had to go to war against the local corrupt armed law officials. The Citizens won (watch the movie and read the news articles) and were not prosecuted, but praised and elected. Need I say more? THAT is what the Second Amendment is for - not game hunting - The Second Amendment is meant to allow the Citizens to organize and form a well regulated militia, if necessary, to do battle with an oppressive government. That is why the RIGHT of the Citizens to keep and bear arms SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED. Do you people actually know what the history and precepts of this Great Nation are? I shudder at the ignorance of the people- I am truly worried for America and the US Constitution.
RivertownsMark July 24, 2012 at 01:47 PM
You know what? To the gun rights people, it's never "about the guns". After Timothy McVeigh, controls were instituted that tracked when people bought components that could be put together to make a truck bomb. And the FBI came down on the nutty militias that bred the thinking behind that. In every case like this, three things come up (in descending order): what was the motive, who IS this guy, and how could we stop/mitigate it. Clearly, he set out to kill. Clearly, in our society, we are passed the point of being able to stop people from buying semi-automatic assault rifles and doing this. But I will ask, again, why do we insist on making it easy for nutbags like this one to buy things like 100-round magazines. What consitutional justification is there that such mass-murder-enhancing devices are available? Why shouldn't they be outlawed? I really don't get it. It's like we suffer from a psychosis where we justify the availability of something that really has no purpose other than to facilitate mass murder. (Or make fantasy-obsessed adolescents reared on one too many violent movies feel like their cinema heroes by packing on the big heat and blasting away at a target range, but I really have no trouble in "depriving" them of 100-round magazines.)
Bjorn Olsson July 24, 2012 at 05:27 PM
Dan, I think using this interpretation of the 2nd amendment makes more sense. If everyone gets basic military training and keeps a military weapon at home, we could do a lot to bring down the weapons that kill people on a daily basis. For militia purposes, there's no real reason to carry your weapon on you at all times, and certainly no reason to argue (as the NRA is) that schools, bars and other public spaces must allow weapons. Maybe a requirement to serve in the National Guard could be made mandatory for anyone who wanted to buy a weapon.
RivertownsMark July 25, 2012 at 02:56 AM
Thank you for at least answering the question I posed. And I am acquainted with the Constitution, thanks. Your historical reference was an interesting one, and one used often by the Second amendment crowd. I appreciate what you are trying to say, but I will tell you that 100-round magazines won't realistically ever have a role in stopping some sort of nightmare scenario, but it did play a role in the death of twelve people a week ago. That's the problem with the arguments made: in pursuit of deeply unlikely scenarios, all reasonable restrictions are thrown out the window and people continue to die in numbers unmatched anywhere in the industrialized world. Again, the horse left the barn. But the insanity continues. And new tools that heighten the insanity shouldn't just automatically be allowed because of a highly theoretical scenario. Red Dawn was a movie. Last week, a dozen people died at the movies. And that's a slow day for murder nationwide, where the daily toll is closer to 90. A day. A Vietnam War worth of dead every 18 months. A World War Two of dead every 8 years. That is just insane.
Dan Seidel July 25, 2012 at 12:53 PM
I'll trust in the right of the People to organize their own militia, the National Guard notwithstanding. The Guard is an instrument of the established government. The 2nd Amend is meant to keep that established government in check and "friendly" to the citizens who empower it. That is the Republic we have. I like it. As "cowboy" as you may think it is, that "spirit" keeps the land free. And from what I have been reading about the 100 round mag - the thing jams, is considered unreliable, was turned down by our military wings and the shooter may have killed and wounded more with the hand guns - ballisitics will tell. I grew up with the credo : we shall overcome - now I am worried about those I grew up with who are in power doing awful things with the country. Now I support the NRA, hesitantly, but support nonetheless. The pendulum has swung too wildly - time to bring it back to a sanity of some sort of center. The Right of the People to organize a well regulated militia: mass murders or not, I'll stick with allowing the sale of 100 round mags - there are bigger issues and while it's unfortunate this happened, I'll stick with being on the side of reasonable open access to weaponry and accessories. My concern is no infringement of Rights. Therein lies the Court battle and judicial elections/appointments. The system grinds on. Good.
Dan Seidel July 25, 2012 at 12:55 PM
and Red Dawn was a very good movie! Battle of Athens was real.
Bjorn Olsson July 25, 2012 at 12:56 PM
Mark, although I agree with you for the most part, I don't know how you calculate your numbers. Annual murder rate in the US is just under 15,000. The US, with a relatively low number of WWII dead compared to the other countries involved, lost over 400,000 people, so you'd need at least 25 years of murder to compare to WWII.
Bjorn Olsson July 25, 2012 at 02:42 PM
Red Dawn was also a compete fantasy.
Bjorn Olsson July 25, 2012 at 02:46 PM
I don't think the second amendment says anything at all about whether these militias are to protect ourselves against our own government or foreign invaders. The National Guard must be considered part of the democratic nation, no? In any case, would you then support to limit day to day carrying? You hardly need your gun at the pub or at Walmart if the purpose of it is to defend against threats against the republic?
Dan Seidel July 26, 2012 at 02:10 PM
In addition to public defense there is also private defense. I fully support concealed carry as well as open carry. If all gun owners were nuts, everyone would be dead by now. Amazing the way4 the usual law abiding citizens are not out committing massacres. Nuts will always be nuts - we should watch for them. Apparently university professors didn;lt open their mail - the alleged diary writings of the alleged shooter (questions on this one too - some people saw 2 shooters - maybe and maybe not) were received on July 6 - detailing the "operation". Maybe if the professorts did their jobs, this could have been averted. So do not tread on my right to keep and BEAR arms. The Second Amendment makes no distinction between keeping and bearing arms at home or in public. It was not meant or written to intend ONLY at home.
Bjorn Olsson July 27, 2012 at 04:35 AM
Dan, you may support the right to carry concealed weapons in every conceivable situation, but I fail to see that this could be considered a constitutional right. I agree that it does support military weapons for defense purposes, but it really seems to have no point of view on the right to carry a concealed weapon at all times.
ThatGuyThatGuyIsNotMyKindaGuy July 27, 2012 at 10:53 AM
don't be stupid, you wanna take guns out of our hands and put up signs alerting the criminals while you're at it -- jeez i wonder what'll happen.
Dan Seidel July 27, 2012 at 11:17 AM
Well, I see no real good arguments against my position nor do I see any Constitutional reasons NOT to carry. The 2nd Amendment is not a limiting one. In a Republic, the state is limited. The Citizens should not be, without good reasonable policy - hence the Courts and the legislature play this out. So far Constitutional law is on my side, the way it should be. I would be more expansive in the Right to carry than we are now in New York - my leftist upbringing commands that belief.
Dan Seidel July 27, 2012 at 11:19 AM
but a good movie. :>)
GetOverYourself July 27, 2012 at 12:01 PM
The Fines are a strong people and don't back down or get discouraged. I have total confidence that Mr. Fine will continue to do what he does for us without a second thought. "Keep calm and carry on" Mr. Fine, all is fine.
RivertownsMark July 27, 2012 at 12:40 PM
Bjorn - You know, I checked to see where I got my numbers. I used the stats for people killed by guns by any cause in 2005: about 29,000: it turned out to be not just murder, but suicide as well. Then I looked at actual Killed In Action in WWII (www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/ref/Casualties/Casualties-Intro.html) and it was 234,000 - but it did not include those who died from accidents or disease. So I should qualify my stats and say that guns are involved in as many deaths of civilians in eight years as total of US soldiers killed in WWII. Still crazy, but I draw comfort from the fact that Mexico, Guatemala, South Africa, Estonia (?!) and the rest of Central America has higher rates than we do.
Bjorn Olsson July 27, 2012 at 01:27 PM
Dan, but the crux of this argument is what gun rights are required by the constitution. There would seem to be no constitutional problem with gun laws directed at limiting concealed weapons and "every day" carrying of guns, for instance.
Blue July 27, 2012 at 01:29 PM
You are so right Ross. It has always been that way. Hell when I was a kid everyone wanted to be a cowboy and get toy guns with holsters and have a showdown with my friends. Why ? What was popular on TV in the 50s and 60s ? Westerns . John Wayne. Just different becasue only bad guys got killed so there was justification. Video games now if you kill a bystander you might loose points. Thats it.
Bjorn Olsson July 27, 2012 at 01:57 PM
Awwww, Dan, I almost had you pegged as reasonable, and then you have to dump a big load of crazy. Shame.
RivertownsMark July 27, 2012 at 02:02 PM
Dan - Do you seriously believe a single word of that? Muslim Brotherhood coming to the US? The UN treaty is a scheme to take away your gun rights? The disrespectfu way you speak of the president? Or is that just the sort of talk you guys do to work up a head of hate beacuse you think it wins you friends and influences people? The only pattern I see here is a total crazy pattern out of Bachmann and crowd. This is just nutty beyond belief. I have to give you the benefit of the doubt that you don't actually believe that stuff, otherwise there's no point in a rational conversation with you.
jeff meyer July 27, 2012 at 02:25 PM
Nowhere in the 2nd Amendment does our government permit unrestricted access to assault rifles and semi auto handguns with clips that carry numerous rounds. Especially when said amendment begins to infringe upon our most cherished right of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In fact when said amendment was conceived every firearm carried one round. If any productive dialogue can come from this awful event it should be the prevention of easy access to assault rifles and ammo in our nation. Sorry people, but for a 24 year old male to be able to legally purchase a AR-15 and 6000 rounds of ammo so easily is completely UNREASONABLE. Does common sense ever enter this discussion. To protect ones home with a registered revolver or shotgun is reasonable. However, the NRA knee jerk reaction against even discussing basic restrictions and conditions to legal firearms possession is unfortunate to say the least. I believe Canada has it right. Weapons such as AR-15's are deemed restricted and unless you are in the military or law enforcement one would need permission and authorization from authorities to obtain such a weapon. That is REASONABLE. After all, what does one wish to use an assault weapon for? Jeff Meyer St. Pete/ Tuckahoe, NY
Bjorn Olsson July 27, 2012 at 04:46 PM
The US is flooded with guns and has harsher punishment including the death penalty, and still has a MUCH higher gun homicide rate than any other Western nation. Clearly the strategy hasn't worked that well so far?
The shepherd July 27, 2012 at 06:56 PM
I support the right to bear arms and the NRA but, as society evolves so should its laws. When the 2nd amendment was written, people were using black powder guns. I'm sure our forefathers did not envision the type of weapons that we would have today. There should be some sort of limit to what we can own.
Tim July 27, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Automatic assault rifles are already illegal under federal law. One cannot own one without a special ATF license which ordinary civilians cannot get. The rifle used in the CO shootings was a SEMI-automatic rifle.
Tim July 27, 2012 at 08:02 PM
There already is. Civilians cannot own fully automatic military assault rifles or have grenade launchers, rocket launchers, etc. We should not be taking away semi-automatic rifles, semi-automatic handguns, shotguns, etc. And I'm not worried because after the liberal Democrats passed the 1994 "assault" weapons ban, they were thrown out of Congress and Gingrich became Speaker. Don't think for a moment the Dems have forgotten that. There is no appetite for more gun control. In fact, concealed carry is at an all time high, and in CO, background checks for gun purchases soared since the shooting last week. By taking away guns, you are only taking away the law abiding citizen's right to self-defense. Nut job criminals will always find a way to get guns and could give a shit about left wing gun control laws.
Pat July 27, 2012 at 08:20 PM
Your numbers are misleading Bjorn, very clever but very misleading. Although the "gun homicide" rate is very high in the US, the total "homicide" rate compared to other countries has the US way down on the list. In Mexico the homicide rate is 20 times higher than in the US and they don't even have the highest rate. Having guns available to us keeps us safer, but if you choose not to have one, then that's your choice.
Dan Seidel July 27, 2012 at 09:51 PM
Amazing the way Patch deletes my Imam Obama comments, or if I call him Traitor in Chief. One speaks the truth and gets censored - welcome to 1984!! Anyway, Caroline Glick says it better than me in re the Muslim Brotherhood running the White House with POTUS permitting and planning the whole thing. http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Article.aspx?id=279075 And the disrespect shown to Obummah? he deserves every bit of it. He's scammed the American People. He has set us up for a takeover. Yes I believe that.
Dan Seidel July 27, 2012 at 10:14 PM
Mark, I am a product of the left. Trust me on this - I know the type of guy POTUS is - I was raised "red". I am steeped in what he "thinks". I stepped away from his delusions and the delusions of the "left". I see clearly now. We have major trouble with this character. He IS a traitor and should be jailed forthwith. Obama is a clear and present danger to the world. He needs to go - NOW. NOBAMA in 2012!! HE will bring the end of the world - for real.
Bjorn Olsson July 29, 2012 at 02:00 PM
Dan, it's kind of fascinating to "meet" someone who actually believe that sort of nonsense. (Unless you're just trolling, hard to tell) You see these conspiratorial crazies on TV and read about them, but it's hard to believe they are real people. If the Muslim Brotherhood were so good they can put one of their guys in the White House, why can't they seem to get Egypt or any other country in order? Makes me think about all those nutters that think government is hopelessly wasteful and incompetent, except when it comes to incredibly complicated coverups perfectly executed. (9/11, JFK, moon landing, etc, etc)


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