Monday, June 17, 2024

The Lies! ‘No Evidence’ Jada Pinkett Smith Blamed Low ‘Queen Cleopatra’ Ratings on ‘White Supremacy’

Cleopatra (Adele James) adjusts her crown in the Netflix docuseries Queen Cleopatra
Adele James as Cleopatra in the Netflix docuseries Queen Cleopatra

*The low viewership surrounding Jada Pinkett Smith’s new Netflix docudrama “Queen Cleopatra” remains irrefutable, but not so much for a recent quote attributed to Smith in response to the poor ratings, according to some fact checking from Newsweek.

According to Forbes, “Queen Cleopatra” has received one of the lowest ratings on review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, with a 15 percent approval rating among critics, and just 3 percent among viewers. Released earlier this month, the four-part docudrama featured Cleopatra as a Black woman, and portrayed by Adele James, a British actress of mixed race. The depiction of the Egyptian queen has already sparked controversy, as scholars have long proclaimed Cleopatra of Greek ancestry, hailing from the Macedonian dynasty of the Ptolemies. While Cleopatra’s paternal line can be traced, her maternal line remains uncertain.

Last week, Black Twitter user Patricia Dickson claimed in a tweet that Pinkett Smith blamed the low viewership of “Queen Cleopatra” on “white supremacists” who are speaking out against the casting. The post, which has been viewed more than 29 million times, included a link to an article headlined: “Jada Pinkett Smith Says ‘White Supremacy’ Responsible for Cleopatra’s Terrible Audience Score.”

Dickson captioned the tweet: “Jada Pinkett Smith says she blames ‘white supremacists’ for the flop of her new Netflix docudrama series, Queen Cleopatra, which has one the worst audience ratings in U.S. television history.” The caption is taken from the opening paragraph of the linked article, which also claims: “As part of Jada’s ‘woke’ crusade, she forced the show’s producers to change the race of Cleopatra to match her own.”

“Cleopatra was Greek, which means she was fair-skinned, not Black,” the article quotes former Egyptian Minister of Antiquities Zahi Hawass as saying.

The article goes on to include an overview of Cleopatra’s life, and of Egyptian lawyer Mahmoud al-Semary’s recently filed lawsuit over the production.

“Hollywood doesn’t care about historical accuracy as long as the show is a hit among ‘woke’ audiences,” read a line in the article, bylined to Sean Adl-Tabatabai.

Meanwhile, Newsweek reports there is no evidence that Pinkett Smith ever made the statement attributed to her.

Per Newsweek:

There is no information to support the claim that Pinkett Smith publicly blamed “white supremacy” for the reaction to Queen Cleopatra. To date, she is yet to publicly comment on the backlash. Further, the article was published a website that is a rebrand of NewsPunch—an outlet that has been named by several reputable outlets as a prolific purveyor of misinformation and conspiracy theories.

YourNewsWire was founded in 2014 and rebranded as NewsPunch in 2018. The rebranded site continues to be credited for articles that are demonstrably false. In 2017, Buzzfeed named NewsPunch as the second-largest source of popular fake news stories shared on Facebook that year.

In a June 2018 analysis by Poynter, NewsPunch was identified as having had articles debunked more than 80 times in 2017 and 2018 by fact-checkers accredited by the nonprofit media institute. These included such outlets as the Associated Press, PolitiFact, Snopes and

The European Union’s East StatCom Task Force, formed by the European Council to provide information to the European Union and its member states on the extent of Russian disinformation campaigns, has previously accused the site of spreading Russian propaganda. NewsPunch co-founder Sean Adl-Tabatabai has denied the task force’s accusations.

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