Black Panther: Twitter bans trolls who claimed white cinema-goers were being attacked at screenings

Adam Lusher
One troll's attempt to use the film Black Panther to spread race hatred was found to have used photos from a news report about a nightclub incident in Sweden: Twitter/@trapafasa

Racist trolls are making false claims that white people are being attacked at screenings of the Marvel film Black Panther.

The first blockbuster superhero film with a black director and mostly black cast grossed a record-breaking $25.2m at the box office when it opened on Thursday night.

But the occasion was marred by trolls attempting to stir up hatred by using social media by falsely alleging that they had been attacked by black cinema-goers because they were white.

One troll, using a Twitter handle that declared them a Christian “hater of Sodomy”, showed a photo of a bloodied handkerchief and wrote: “Was at the Black Panther premiere but a group of black youths said this wasn’t for me.

“I am white. They then proceeded to assault me. I’m heading to the ER now.”

This troll used a photo from 2009 (Twitter/@trapafasa)

Other Twitter users quickly established that the claim was false and the photograph of the bloodied handkerchief had actually been taken nine years ago.

Another troll claimed: “I went to see Black Panther with my gf [girlfriend] and a black teenager shouted ‘U at the wrong theatre’ and smashed a bottle on her face’.”


Twitter user Joseph Muhatia (@trapafasa) and others quickly did a Google Reverse Image search to establish that the accompanying photograph originated from a news report about a 19-year-old who was hit with a glass bottle by a man who had tried to grope her in a Swedish nightclub.

Another troll used both a fake photo and a fake name. They claimed to be Paul Nehlen, the white nationalist congressional candidate who has in fact been suspended from Twitter because of a tweet about Meghan Markle that led to him being accused of racism.

The troll showed a photo of a bruised woman with the caption: “Ohio woman hospitalised after racially-motivated attack at Black Panther screening”.

The image was actually from a 2013 Serbian publicity campaign against domestic violence, featuring models wearing make-up that made them look as if they had been punched.

As the trolls’ claims were swiftly debunked, Twitter suspended their accounts.

And some Twitter users started mocking the crude attempts at stirring up racial hatred, with images of the fictional character Glenn, from the TV series The Walking Dead, proving particularly popular.

A lot of people also continued to herald the film as a major moment in American cultural history.

Black Panther is out in UK and US cinemas now.