The story is all too familiar: a filmmaker tweets something that seems harmless and then it draws backlash from the social media masses. Director Scott Derrickson is the latest embroiled in Twitter ire as he’s been getting slammed for his remarks about film criticism. In turn, he is looking to evacuate the Twitter mothership.
It all started in early November when the Doctor Strange director tweeted his opinion about Bohemian Rhapsody, which has been criticized for “straight-washing” the story of Freddie Mercury, an icon for the LGBTQ community.
“I really enjoyed Bohemian Rhapsody,” he wrote. “Most criticisms I’ve read about the film say it could’ve been something more. But I refuse to judge a film by I wanted it to be, I receive it for what it is.”
Twitter, pounced on the opportunity to criticize his criticism to which the level-headed Derrickson responded, “This tweet sparked some great dialogue, including the legit argument that some biopics have a moral obligation to meet certain expectations of proper portrayal — especially when the subject is deceased, and perhaps more so when that person still has living friends and family.”
Even so, people continued to drag — but it seemed to go beyond that. “I’m just gonna say this because I think it’s true. Film critics should not slag on filmmaker’s twitter feeds — it’s a professional conflict of interest. This is why I’ve gotten pissed about this issue in the past.”
His remarks continued to echo with Twitter. He expanded on his thoughts about critics coming for the filmmaker instead of films — he particularly was referring to a Washington Post critic. In turn, he threated to delete Twitter from his life. “If I keep getting personally attacked by film critics I will leave twitter. They will win. I cannot afford to have them souring my name to other critics and filmmakers. It’s consequential. And none of them come at me directly. That would at least deserve a smidgeon of respect.”
As the social media saga continued, many critics came to his defense and Derrickson tweeted, “Quality film criticism is an art form requiring tremendous knowledge, dedication, creativity and skill. And in this day and age — it even requires financial sacrifice.” He added, “all so that moviegoers can choose their films more wisely, and better understand what they’ve seen.”
He continued to get railed for his comments about film criticism but then the received ultimate stamp of approval from Chaz Ebert, the wife of the late, great film critic Roger Ebert.
“Hello Scott, I am not sure what brought about your particular declaration of despair, and it may not make a bit of difference to you, but Roger admired your filmmaking and said he saw something in it that showed a profundity of character and intellect.” she wrote.
“Thank you so much Chaz. We all miss Roger so so much,” he responded. “He is the permanent gold standard for powerful, passionate, creative film criticism. I would never have pursued a career in film had I not learned cinema history by pouring over his written reviews.”
His latest tweet could very well be a bookend to this drama: “I didn’t expect to garner so much attention for my tweets last night, but I have to say a sincere thank you for the avalanche of supportive tweets. I won’t leave twitter because of it. I hope this discussion continues and has some positive long-term influence on the issue.”