Movies

What do Twitter trolls, Black Panther and a porn star's birthday party have in common?

The photo this user says was taken after his brother was beaten at a showing of "Black Panther" is fake.
The photo this user says was taken after his brother was beaten at a showing of "Black Panther" is fake. Twitter screengrabs

Only on the internet.

Reports on social media made waves during the opening weekend of the latest superhero movie, "Black Panther," of white movie-goers being attacked by black movie-goers. In many of the claims, the attackers had a message for whites seeing the movie: this movie isn't for you, whitey.

Just one problem — the claims are fake.

Snopes, the online fact-checking outlet, has weighed in with a resounding verdict of FALSE. So has Vox.

Business Insider reported that Twitter, where most of the hoaxes have been reported, has already taken down a number of posts with the fake claims many have characterized as racist.

But one of these hoaxes has a local angle to it.

It would be a sad story if someone's brother named Kenan "was jumped just trying to see the movie," while attackers told him "this movie ain't for you whitey." But it didn't happen that way.

That photo is actually of a man who was beaten in 2013 and posted it to IMGUR, a social media platform that brands itself as the home for "the most viral images on the internet, sorted by popularity."

The Dallas Observer reported the day after those photos were posted to IMGUR that the man's name is Ryan Ball, and he was beaten outside the since-closed nightclub Levu near Deep Ellum, where a birthday party for pornographic film star Jenna Jameson had been taking place that night. Ball also posted his account of that night in April 2013 to Reddit.

"The two suspects," who got out of their BMW 535 sometime after 2 a.m. during an argument with Ball, "just hit him in the face and kicked him in the face and then left," Dallas Police Department spokeswoman Sherri Jeffrey told the Observer at the time.

As depraved a forum as Twitter can be at times, one of its redeeming characteristics is its users' penchant for outing liars in real time. That's what's been happening to the user who co-opted Ball's photo for his fake and racially charged accusation.

Some other fake assault claims even went as far as to include photos of victims of domestic abuse under the guise that the bruises and black eyes in the photos were actually attained from violent "Black Panther" fans.

Twitter Hoaxporter.jpg
This photo is actually of former White House secretary Rob Porter's ex-wife Colbie Holderness, who made it public before Porter resigned from the position earlier this month. Twitter screengrab

Another fake claim co-opted the face of Colbie Holderness, who claims she suffered the black eye in the photo at the hands of her ex-husband Rob Porter. Porter resigned his position as White House secretary last week when allegations of spousal abuse were made by Holderness and another ex-wife.

Black writers, reviewers and fans have lauded "Black Panther" for bringing a superhero to the silver screen that looks like them, after years of Marvel and DC movies casting black actors in supporting roles or bit parts, if at all.

The movie delivered on the hype it had generated before its release with opening weekend sales reaching a record $192 million, according to USA Today.

T'Challa, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king.

Matthew Martinez: 817-390-7667; @MCTinez817

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