Mark Borkowski, the British PR agent, said the scandal had echoes of the fake reviews that have proliferated on Amazon. They led the company last year to take legal action against five brokers who were encouraging almost 350,000 people to write misleading reviews. Borkowski said the practice was damaging to the credibility of the film industry.
“The idea of being paid to write a positive review is anathema to a serious critic,” he added. “Film publicity has become increasingly commoditised as the money has fallen out of it. It shines a light on a system which is becoming fairly corrupt.”
Borkowski said it demonstrated the unhealthy power sites such as Rotten Tomatoes had in influencing business decisions. “Hollywood had a backlash against publicists wielding too much power and being able to blacklist journalists from interviews but the one thing it needs is transparency,” he added. “It now seems we are in a race to the bottom in terms of trust.”