Cinemassacre Plagiarism Scandal

Cinemassacre Plagiarism Scandal

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The Cinemassacre Plagiarism Scandal refers to a controversy where a Cinemassacre writer plagiarised portions of an online review for the film 28 Days Later for their own review of the movie as a part of the company's annual Monster Madness event, where James Rolfe reviews a different horror movie every day in October. The video was hosted on the Cinemassacre website on October 1st and taken down days later after a viewer noticed similarities in the written review and the video's dialogue. The video has since been removed and Rolfe uploaded an apology video shifting blame onto a nameless writer at Screenwave, the production company that's partnered with Cinemassacre.


On October 1st, 2021, Cinemassacre, best known for the Angry Video Game Nerd series, began their annual Monster Madness event where James Rolfe, founder of Cinemassacre, reviews a different horror movie every day in October in celebration of Halloween. This year the reviews were hosted on the Cinemassacre[1] website exclusively to avoid censorship by YouTube. The first video, a review for the 2002 film 28 Days Later, was posted to the site that day but has since been removed. It has been reuploaded to YouTube (shown below).

On that day, Redditor Z_B_123 made a post to the /r/TheCinemassacreTruth[2] showing several instances from the video side-by-side with portions of a 2003 review for the film by Cecilia Sayad for the Film Comment[3] website. The wording of Rolfe's narration is almost identical to the review, with some words slightly changed. These plagiarized sections were showcased in a YouTube[4] video by Disgruntled Wombats on the same day, gaining over 13,000 views in four days (shown below).

On October 2nd, ResetEra[5] user alr1ght made a thread exposing the plagiarism. That day alr1ght[6] posted evidence of two times from the past where sections of different reviews were plagiarized for Cinemassacre content, although these are arguably less cut-and-dry. Another user, ash32121[7] accused a writer of plagiarising from the Korean horror Wikipedia page for their review of the film The Host, the second episode of 2021's Monster Madness event. These accusations have not been addressed.


Justin Silverman, or JustySilverman327 on Reddit, a co-host and producer of Cinemassacre content and a Screenwave employee, actively responded to a number of comments on Reddit regarding the plagiarism in the days leading up to their official statement. In one comment he confirms that a new employee, Newt, wrote most of the early scripts for Monster Madness 2021, indirectly direction the blame towards him (shown below). He also mentions the script for The Host, however, says Newt had no part in that script.

Innerred_Mitorict22 4m Yo u/JustySilverman327 Newt The new person done f----- up again 6 Reply t Vote JustySilverman327 1m MELON I need to borrow Kieran's club. This is b-------. I've been spending all day combing through scripts. Newt had a hand in a lot of the early ones this month, but not The Host. I'm getting to the bottom of this. I was hoping 28 Days Later was an isolated incident as a lot of the lines were verbatim. There's good researching, citing, and note harvesting... but this seems too blatant. Regardless, we won't release anything that has issues and will fully fix anything I find to be in issue. So far it's only a couple things like this Bad Taste review. + Vote

On October 4th, 2021, James Rolfe posted an unlisted video on the Cinemassacre Clips YouTube[8] channel apologizing for the incident of plagiarism, admitting that it did happen and clearing up his own name as well as additional Cinemassacre and Screenwave hosts Kieran Fallon and Justin Silverman. Rolfe instead blames an unnamed writer at Screenwave, the production company behind Cinemassacre (shown below). The video was shared on the Cinemassacre website in place of episode one of Monster Madness and by Rolfe on the Cinemassacre Twitter.[9]

On the same day, RCE Pods and Clips posted a video to YouTube[16] discussing the scandal (shown below). Justin commented on the video explaining how they needed help to keep up with the pace of their plans for Monster Madness, how he regrets getting that help and how they've had no plagiarism issues in the past (shown below). The comment was pinned by RCE Pods and Clips.

I Pinned by RCE Pods & Clips Justin Silverman 21 hours ago Guess l'll chime in. James just issued his apology: The plagiarism in the first episode was a huge mistake and misunderstanding and that first script was definitely plagiarized after looking into the online software. We noticed a few issues with other scripts, mainly Bad Taste, which was replaced by The Host. Since the incident the uploads had a few issues with pulling a few trivia facts, which should have been cited fully, but didn't have the damning issues that the other two scripts had. Yes, I agree, James SHOULD write ALL of the Monster Madness content, but needed extra help this year and trusted us to get it done. Aside from that, a lot of these films, being Around the World are out of James' wheelhouse, more obscure international films, especially countries that only have ONE horror movie or you need to know about anime or something, so we enlisted some help. Which bit us in the ass. Regardless, he wrote a ton this year, or added his input and opinions into each script. And in 15+ years of Cinemassacre and 5+ years of Screenwave we have never had issues with plagiarism. This was a one-off issue which we are fixing. -- Aside from that, Screenwave Media DOES NOT own Cinemassacre. We are just partners. I am an employee of Screenwave, not CEO, and I help produce Cinemassacre as half my job here. James is still 100% in charge of his channel. And, by the way, props to the weight loss. Gonna watch your video on it fully, really interested, think it will help motivate myself to shed pounds. Thanks. -- I'm a bit too busy, not a lot of time to do podcasts right now, but I would love to come on your show and lie for two hours straight in the future. That's a joke by the way. I know this will be spread around.

Online Reactions

The reactions to Rolfe's apology were mixed-to-positive, with some seeing it as fair and genuine, citing Rolfe's good track record and Screenwave's increasingly obvious presence in Cinemassacre's content over the past years, making it believable that someone else wrote the scripts. Others saw it as blame-shifting and disappointing, especially from someone like Rolfe who is passionate about horror films. Many placed the blame on Screenwave employee Newt after Justin's comments. The /r/TheCinemassacreTruth[10][11] subreddit had a more negative response to the apology and those who accepted it at face value.


The /r/TheCinemassacreTruth subreddit became dedicated to the scandal starting on October 1st, resulting in a lot of memes referencing it. On October 4th, Redditor Small_Macaroon_1196 posted a piece of art to /r/TheCinemassacreTruth[12] based on the thumbnail of Rolfe's apology video, gaining over 230 upvotes in a day (shown below).


Many of the memes criticized Rolfe and Justin's shift of blame to Newt and portrayed the new employee as a punching bag or scapegoat for the others (examples from /r/TheCinemassacreTruth[13][14] shown below).

-NEWT 1 didn't copy and paste that script It was Newt Go kill Newt

On October 5th, Redditor MegaSystem88 posted a cartoon to /r/TheCinemassacreTruth[15] depicting Justin angrily asking the other Cinemassacre members who plagiarized the scripts, gaining over 140 upvotes in four hours (shown below).

Ok, which one of you melons plagiarised SS monster madness!? Mhmm...wait we have an Uhhhh um intern? it was the new intern! SSS ARANTIS HACK

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Top Comments


The fact that this is the biggest controversy James has ever had in a career spanning nearly twenty years actually just shows what a great person he is.


Not sure what else people want from James. He owned up to it, took it down really quick, reprimanded the employee, and is screening yet to be posted content of anything else that may be untoward. As a person in charge of fuck-up employees, fine, I get being mad at the boss who "allowed" their employee to make a mistake, but what else is he supposed to do that would please the internet? Either way, I once knew a guy who ran for president 40 years ago, plagiarized the life story of a Labour Party leader, then ended up becoming president 40 years later… so this seems small by comparison.


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