Like many of us, Letterboxd user SilentDawn felt compelled to revisit Inglourious Basterds—what with a new Quentin Tarantino film in theaters and all. Following what was presumably an entertaining but largely uneventful two hours and 33 minutes, SilentDawn took to Letterboxd to post their thoughts on this modern classic, along with a humorous sentiment—a joke, if you will: SilentDawn wished that the fictional Nazi-killers from Tarantino’s movie would come to modern America and dispense with the very real Nazis that live among us. Unfortunately, as recounted by IndieWire, the Letterboxd moderators deleted this wish before it could be granted by the also extremely real digital fairies that live within the vast network of tubes that comprise the internet. And so, as you might have guessed, the people of the internet were very angry.
Upon deleting SilentDawn’s original review, Letterboxd tweeted what probably seemed like a totally reasonable explanation—to someone who was experiencing their first day on the internet in America, maybe: “We don’t wish to promote any form of violent hatred on our platform, no matter which side you come down on.” Once upon a time, this probably would have been fine, just fine, but this is 2019, and Nazis do live among us, and so we return once again to the eternal “is it OK to punch a Nazi?” debate. There mere suggestion that all lives are sacred regardless of how much they might wish death and violence upon marginalized people and minorities did not sit well with ol’ Twitter. Someone at Letterboxd was like, “Hold up, let me try this again,” and a follow-up tweet appeared:
“We’re not Nazi sympathizers. Not a single one of us. We’re not even neutral on the issue. Nazism sucks.” It’s that last bit that really drives the point home, I think. What better way to harshly condemn violent racists than with that old “they suck” chestnut? There is none! Meanwhile, on Letterboxd, SilentDawn updated their review, which now reads:
Letterboxd didn’t approve of my original review wishing for the return of The Basterds and the swift, brutal end of fascism in 2019 America so here’s this:
Perhaps Letterboxd should retain SilentDawn’s services to handle this unfortunate Nazi business. But no, the people of Letterboxd forged ahead, issuing a public apology and very lengthy explanation, which includes an update to their community policy. It reads, in part:
Where to now?
We don’t want to dwell further on the review in question, because that would put the onus back on the reviewer in this discussion. We want to focus on the bigger questions that you have raised around how we moderate content.
Firstly: dangerous fascism and white supremacist ideology can go to hell. We remove it from our service regularly. We want to catch it all. We’ve changed our community policy as of today to reflect this, adding in an explicit line rejecting content that “expressly praises, supports, promotes or represents white nationalist ideology”.
Just so everyone is clear: Letterboxd does not like Nazis. It does not hang out with Nazis. Nazis suck. They can go to hell. Thank you for your time.