Knocked for Being White and Male, Rotten Tomatoes’ Critics Criteria Gets Overhauled for Merit and Diversity

August 29, 2018, 10:15 PM UTC

Rotten Tomatoes, the popular entertainment reviews aggregation platform, announced changes to its “Tomatometer” rating system—the percentage score of how many critics liked a film or television show.

The website on Tuesday said criteria for determining whether or not a critic can influence the Tomatometer will now emphasize individual merit and body of work, rather than the reputation for the publication they work for. Additionally, the criteria will now include newer media platforms with reviews on podcasts or digital videos with a significant social media presence.

Rotten Tomatoes said it has added more than 200 new Tomatometer-approved critics, with more to follow. The moves are designed to increase diversity throughout its critic pool, which has long been accused of being primarily white and male.

“Over the past few years, our team has added hundreds of new voices to the Tomatometer on top of the thousands we currently have, with the goal of creating a critics pool that closely reflects the global entertainment audience,” Jenny Jediny, Rotten Tomatoes critics relations manager, said in a statement.

“We took another key step today by revamping our critics criteria that both shifts our focus to approving critics individually rather than through publications, and introduces updated guidelines for newer media platforms to be a part of the Tomatometer.”

Rotten Tomatoes says it will do its part to encourage diversity and inclusion in criticism with the establishment of a $100,000 grant program. Of that, $25,000 is going to the Toronto International Film Festival’s Media Inclusion Initiative, which Rotten Tomatoes says will bring roughly 200 new journalists from underrepresented groups to this year’s festival in September.

“Rotten Tomatoes plays an important role in connecting fans with trusted information and recommendations on what to watch in theaters and at home,” Paul Yanover, president of Fandango—Rotten Tomatoes’ parent company—said in a statement. “Advancing inclusion in criticism continues to be a priority for Rotten Tomatoes and we plan to expand our work with media outlets that hire critics, film festivals and other groups, so as an industry we can better serve consumers.”