Amazon recently removed one if its most-watched lesbian films from its streaming service. The reason? Apparently, because of negative reviews – almost all of them written by men.
Lesbian filmmaker and actress Tucky Williams was thrilled when her movie was accepted by the Amazon Video Direct streaming service earlier this year. Girl/Girl Scene is Tucky’s first feature-length film and is based on her wildly popular web series of the same name.
At first, it was performing quite well on video direct, which is a streaming service Amazon offers that allows filmmakers to upload their films directly to the site and be paid a portion of the revenue earned. But after being a “most-watched” movie for weeks, dozens of negative reviews came flooding in all at once – enough of them to prompt Amazon to remove the movie due to what they say was a matter of quality control.
The onslaught of 1-star reviews were paired with short, rude comments, most of which were only 1-2 words such as “crap” while others were more blatantly misogynist/lesbophobic in nature like “just go on porn hub” and “ugly ass chicks.”
One reviewer lamented that the movie failed to meet even “soft-core porn” status. Another said he watched only 15 minutes of the film, yet left a seven-paragraph negative review. Two reviewers complained the film was bad because it was critical of Trump (it’s not; it’s set in the 80’s and Trump is never mentioned, for the record)
Here are some of the reviews, for reference.
Where this story takes a suspicious turn as a potential incel/MRA attack is the fact that not only were the negative reviewers mostly men – or at least gave male names – they may have also been using fake accounts as women. After looking into the accounts of the female reviewers who left negative reviews, we found that these “women” were also leaving scathing reviews on men’s products like beard trimmers.
AfterEllen spoke with Tucky Williams about the incident and she explained that she had appealed the film’s removal and had been in touch with Amazon but with no resolution to date. This is devastating for any independent filmmaker, but especially for a lesbian filmmaker. We all know how difficult it is to get lesbian projects funded, and even harder to find a distributor.
The negative reviews and Amazon’s subsequent removal of the film also affected its IMDB ratings, which plummeted at the same time as Girl’Girl Scene was bombarded on Amazon. Williams said she informed IMDB about the situation, and they assured her that they have a
process that ensures that hate bias would be detected and ruled out. “I asked them what they would do if white supremacists were down-voting Schindler’s List, and they had no response.”
Interestingly, they list this man’s review of her lesbian movie as a professional one:
AfterEllen has not yet reached out to IMDB, but we did reach out to Amazon by phone, and they explained that the movie was removed because their system is set up to remove all movies that have a high number of customer negative feedback and low ratings. They assured that they support lesbian content and that this incident in no way reflects their support of the lesbian and gay community. When we suggested that the movie, being a lesbian movie, might be the target of a misogynist and/or homophobic attack, especially given that all of the negative reviews were left by people with male names, they said they would investigate the situation thoroughly.
To date, we have not heard back from Amazon with the result of their investigation. But we are holding out hope that they will do the right thing and put Girl/Girl Scene back online so that lesbians everywhere can watch it – and write our own reviews of a film that belongs to our community, not to men.