My review was deleted and it did not violate the guidelines. How do I appeal? This is targeted politicized censorship.

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I would like some help from the IMDb community. 

I posted a review of Murder on the Orient Express. On the "best" reviews page for the movie, my review was ranked #5 (out of over 200 user reviews). So it was very popular among IMDb users who obviously found my review useful. It was knowledgable, informed and insightful.

I just learned that my review has been deleted for "abuse." I have looked at the guidelines and I do not see how my review has violated the guidelines in any way.

I feel as though my review was targeted and removed for political reasons, because I called the movie out on a number of topics that are highly contentious today. Namely, that the movie distorted the original work by adding stereotypical male and female tropes and creating madonna/whore lampshade characters (a "lampshade" female character is a well known term among media analyst circles) and adding psychopathic and predatory characteristics to the male characters that were not in the original work. And it appears many IMDb users agreed with me.

This removal of my review seems to me to be based in biased judgment that is inappropriate censorship. My review was statistically popular and valued by the IMDb community and I believe it has been removed because of the biases of the person reporting it as "abusive" and of whatever editors reviewed the complaint. I want to reach out to the community, because I think this is a serious ethical issue. How can I appeal this? Or can I at least be told what in the VERY popular review was deemed "abusive?" 

The only clues I have is that there is a prohibition against writing sentences in all-caps. I made some words all caps for emphasis, but I did not write any whole sentences in all caps.

Another guideline is not to be spiteful. My language was pointed, but not spiteful. I did refer to Agatha Christie's strong views on the subject (she was definitely was very clear about her disdain for people distorting her work in just this way). So removing the review is also silencing Agatha Christie, as well.

Spite is in the eye of the beholder and people who are not used to hearing a gender analysis of media and are unfamiliar with how gender tropes are problematic may--incorrectly--hear such an analysis as "spiteful." The irony here is that Agatha Christie PREDICTED that someone WOULD do exactly THIS! (That's an example of how I used all caps). Pervert her work and then gaslight the people pointing that out. And that's exactly what IMDb has done.

Consider how many people believed the women reporting sexual harassment were just being "spiteful." My concern is that that same mindset is causing unethical decisions in the IMDb editing community. Is IMDb just another male dominated media platform that hears women's world view as "abusive" for speaking truth to power? 

My goal here is to have the review reinstated, with all of the user votes it had before. I would be happy to edit out any material that is not appropriate, if missed something about the guidelines that I violated. But I'm just not seeing it.
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Amy Luna

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  • concerned about politicized censorship of user reviews

Posted 2 years ago

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Michelle, Official Rep

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Hi Amy -

This is confirmation that your review is now listed on the site, see here.  

Please note that all comments must conform to the guidelines as described here.  Even though your review is now listed on the site, I recommend that you read the guidelines again to make sure that all future reviews conform to our guidelines.
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Amy Luna

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Thank you, Michelle.  I appreciate having my review reinstated. And, from it's ranking, I believe the IMDb community appreciates it, too. I know Agatha Christie would. I will review the guidelines, as you suggested.
(Edited)
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Amy Luna

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Hi Michelle,

I see that my review of Murder on the Orient Express has been removed...again, lol. It seems the trolls are at it again...censoring reviews that point out glaring gender issues with films. Hmmmmm...

You were so helpful last time with reinstating it. Can you do so again? I think it had over 200 upvotes last I checked.
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Jeorj Euler

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Wow. Whoever deleted your review and elicited your inquiry may have inadvertently caused attention to be drawn to your rather thoughtful critique of the movie, Amy Luna. (You might have struck a nerve.) In turn, based upon the content of the review, I'm feeling somewhat disappointed with Kenneth Branagh's work on the picture, given his being renown for understanding classic literature (British or American, what not). We wouldn't have expected him to direct a movie in the jazzed-up way that you criticize: Hercule Poirot above the train, below the train, on the side of the train, turned into a sexual tyrannosaur. I shall, however, opine that referring to the movie as a "steaming pile of dung" (which I'm not even sure was the phrase originally used by you) is poor taste no matter how much it did not live up to the Agatha Christie's vision. I would still have to see the movie to assess its quality, though. It's not unusual for cinematic adaptations of novels to be much weaker than the novels, whether the author of the novel played a part in the movie or was dead long before it was even being made. Adaptation is no easy feat.
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Amy Luna

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I appreciate your complimentary words regarding my review.

Adaptation is one thing. Bastardization is another. If Branaugh is so respectful of British literature, then why did he have a writer adapt her work who is known for superhero films? That genre is literally the antithesis of the subtlety, humanity, intelligence, psychology and wit that Christie is known for.  In fact, she was so brilliant, she predicted this would happen. That's how astutely she understood human nature's dark side.

Branaugh is using the "Agatha Christie" brand for personal profit in a way that Agatha Christie distinctly and deliberately opposed. That is artistic rape. It really is. I stand by my title. I only regret that good taste prohibited me from using the colloquial term for dung.

And, on the subject of adaptation. It was "easy" enough to craft no less that two brilliant adaptations of Murder on the Orient express already. The Albert Finney and David Suchet versions, both of which are masterpieces. 

Branaugh knew exactly what he was doing. Pandering to the fleeting trends of today's zeitgeist that I referred to in my review.
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Xurs

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Since the review was restored, what was the issue? Did you have to make any changes?
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Amy Luna

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I was not asked to make any changes and was not told what was the issue. Again, there is research that shows that when a woman has a strong voice, she is heard as being aggressive by people conditioned to believe the female voice is supposed to be demure and submissive. I believe the user who reported my review and the editor who deleted my review were operating under this bias. In my view, I was appropriately pointing out Branaugh's unethical and clearly self-promoting script and direction in defense of a literary genius who very specifically is on the record condemning this kind of grandstanding appropriation of her work. It's a sign of the times that I can quote Agatha Christie in the mid 20th century protesting the use of sex stereotypes, using women as sex objects and men as violence objects and still be gaslighted as "spiteful" in the 21st century. Christie was superlative at understanding human psychology--and she foresaw the direction in which her work would go and that the people defending her would be characterized as prudish killjoys.
(Edited)
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Xurs

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Unreal.
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Jeorj Euler

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Now that I've seen it, Branagh's adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express definitely at least strikes me as something of a vanity project, sure. There may be veiled candor in how the movie establishes itself, whether it gets off on the wrong foot or not, when Poirot makes sure that both feet are even. At that point, the audience may be able to begin deciding whether time could be better spent elsewhere or not.
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Bethany

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Have just had the same problem this morning. Wrote a query here an hour ago asking which review it was and why (being a prolific reviewer so cannot see which one it was), also to ask whether it can be reinstated. This has worried, annoyed and frustrated me, as I have anxiety and health problems it is not healthy for me to be this way and should be sorted. I don't think the review was deleted for a legitimate reason and was done so out of spite, which has been known to be the case for abuse reports. Positive reviews for 'The Last Jedi' has been a notorious recent example.


My reviews have never had any reason, or so I don't think, to be deleted, or ones worthy of deletion. They have always aimed to be sincere, balanced and respectful and I feel that I succeed in those aims. Just look at the many reviews somehow approved let alone found useful that talk down to the viewer and try to make people feel bad for having views different to theirs. My reviews have not once done that and even when they were strongly worded in places, in the very sporadic times I've mentioned in passing how I feel about excessive critic bashing, it never violated terms and conditions and there were no personal attacks, I even apologise when I do it.


So the deletion is an enigma to me. It's happened a number of times to other reviewers too and I've had a couple of instances in my early years of being a member. I've just seen your review and it  in no way warranted a deletion, it was very thoughtfully, if strongly, worded and far more illuminating than those defending the film, some of them disrespectful towards those who disliked it. Just for the record, I was disappointed in it myself (one of the most disappointing, if not the worst, films of the year for me), if not quite as much as you were, and wrote a review for it too.