- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 7, 2018

A tsunami of social media mockery walloped Salon this week after it claimed that Marvel Studios’ upcoming “Black Panther” is a first for big-screen black heroes.

Fans of Wesley Snipes’ “Blade” (1998), Michael Jai White’s “Spawn” (1997), along with supporters of Will Smith and Denzel Washington zeroed in on Salon’s Twitter account for erroneously framing “Black Panther” as a watershed moment in film.

“‘Black Panther’ is the first blockbuster-format release featuring a black hero front and center,” Salon tweeted early Tuesday evening.

Backlash was swift.

“It’s so sad that the whole media has reduced an actor’s talent and the success of a movie to the color of his skin,” replied one reader. “It only makes me feel more ashamed to be an African-American, as if I were an idiot incapable and despised for anything other than the color of my skin.”

“I’m gonna [sic] pretend like I ain’t [sic] see this tweet,” added another, whose tweet included a clip of Will Smith from 1998’s blockbuster “Men In Black.”

Ben Shapiro, editor in chief of The Daily Wire (and avid comic book fan) also weighed in.

“Blade. Independence Day. Shaft. Men in Black. Hancock. Django Unchained,” Mr. Shapiro deadpanned.

“We have corrected this story to read that ‘Black Panther’ is centered on an iconic black comic book figure, and features a predominantly black cast and has a director and black writers, and is being distributed to a wide audience,” the outlet tweeted Tuesday in response to the criticism.

“Black Panther,” which comes out Feb. 16, has tracking statistics that indicate an opening weekend of $130 million.

The film is directed by Ryan Coogler and stars Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan and Andy Serkis.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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