Warner Bros. Has Reportedly Claimed That An Army Of Bots Fueled The Over-The-Top ‘Release The Snyder Cut’ Campaign

Back in May 2020, everyone’s pandemic-addled brains acknowledged how the then-fabled “Snyder Cut” of Justice League existed and would be coming to HBO Max. Have our noggins recovered yet? That’s debatable, but the four-hour runtime served as a lofty platform for Zack Snyder’s years-long crusade to finally bring his vision (and Jared Leto’s so-called “world weary” Joker, not the David Ayer version) to screens. Snyder has gone to go back to zombie basics while showcasing the hordes of Netflix’s Army of the Dead, but as the dust has settled over at HBO Max, the adventure appears to have left a bad taste in Warner Bros. executives’ mouths.

At least, that’s according to a new Rolling Stone report that details how Snyder’s zombie hordes (from elsewhere) were apparently comparable to what allegedly went down with a social media movement. The report details how Warner Bros. commissioned reports after questioning “how organic the SnyderVerse legion really was.” Granted, yes, there are Snyder superfans out there, and we do (also allegedly) “live in a society,” but the reports apparently pointed to a not-insignificant percentage (13%+ as compared to “typical” amount of 3-5% on trending subjects) of enthused Twitter accounts that were fakey fake. Here’s the lowdown from Rolling Stone:

Two firms contacted by Rolling Stone that track the authenticity of social media campaigns, Q5id and Graphika, also spotted inauthentic activity coming from the SnyderVerse community. And yet another firm, Alethea Group, found that the forsnydercut.com domain — which claims to have made the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut hashtag go viral in May of 2018, and became the landing hub for efforts to bring Snyder back to the helm of the DC universe — was, at least at one point, registered to a person who also ran a now-defunct ad agency which promoted its ability to bring “cheap, instant Avatar traffic to your website.”

Yup, that’s not good. Rolling Stone also details how Snyder pushed back to claim that Warner Bros. was “trying to leverage my fan base to bolster subscribers to their new streaming service.” HBO Max seemed to already be doing just fine at that point, although it’s understandable that they’d want to get in on fan service with such a seemingly loyal audience. However, Rolling Stone also quotes a source that suggests Snyder “was like a Lex Luthor wreaking havoc,” which is left open to interpretation. The article also begins by describing Snyder as “increasingly agitated” to begin with, so take that as you will.

The full Rolling Stone piece is worth a read, and it also arrives at about the same time as scrutiny regarding an alleged army of Johnny Depp-loving bots. The Pirates of the Caribbean actor has been accused of either funding or looking the other way regarding the presence a bot-campaign and actual fans that orchestrated an “organized campaign of widespread targeted harassment” against Amber Heard, leading up to and during the former couple’s most recent defamation trial. Instances of similarly disturbing behavior, by either bots or actual fans, are described in the Rolling Stone report as reasons why Warner Bros. executives grew alarmed.

It’s enough to make anyone’s head spin and remember that, sometimes, it’s healthy to close the laptop, man.

(Via Rolling Stone)