U.S. Congressional Candidate Calls for Government Legislation in Response to Internet Trolls Attacking ‘Captain Marvel’

U.S. congressional candidate Brianna Wu says the government has a role to play in the fight against Internet trolls, a stance inspired in part by the backlash against Marvel Studios’ female-led Captain Marvel.

“It’s kind of a familiar story at this point, right? We were here with Ghostbusters — it seems like any time a woman steps forward and tries to put her toe in the water for a male-dominated field, we’re right back here. It’s so frustrating,” Wu said on Bloomberg Technology, citing the controversy that surrounded Paul Feig’s all-female Ghostbusters reboot.

Asked by host Emily Chang if social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are doing enough to curb trolls and harassment even amid a shift toward privacy, Wu said she “absolutely” believes it’s a gendered issue, adding, “It affects men too, for sure.”

When asked if legislation needs to be introduced to better control online hostilities, Wu answered, “I think that there is certainly a role in Washington for us to address what women face both in the tech industry, and what users face on the other side.”

“Something we’ve seen is really big promises from Facebook, from Twitter, from Reddit, from all these companies, that they’re going to address this situation,” Wu added.

“For me, looking at this in 2019, it’s very hard for me to point to one thing that has concretely changed for women in the tech industry, so I do think Washington has a role to play.”

Prompted to describe what this legislation could look like, Wu pointed to the self-regulated video game industry.

“I think it starts with letting these companies know that Washington is going to take it seriously,” Wu said.

“In the video game industry, famously, they held hearings about violence in the ‘90s, and then the video game industry looked at it and said, ‘If we don’t get serious about this, they’re going to regulate our field.’ And then our industry formed the ESRB and self-regulated, and it works amazingly well. What I think will happen is if you have people in Washington sitting on the Science, Space and Technology subcommittee looking at this, that that threat of real legislation coming down the pipe will cause these companies to finally do the right thing.”

Disney-owned Marvel Studios’ first female-led superhero movie was targeted on Rotten Tomatoes, where review bombers dropped its anticipation rating to the lowest of any Marvel Cinematic Universe entry. Its abuse resulted in the complete removal of the feature.

Despite the online pushback facing Captain Marvel, the Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson starrer is eyeing a $350 million global opening weekend.

Captain Marvel releases to theaters tonight. Larson next returns in Avengers: Endgame, out April 26.

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