July 22nd, 2016 –The mainstream movie debut of SNL cast member, Leslie Jones, was spoiled by a relentless trolling campaign that played out across social media this week. The star of the female-led Ghostbusters reboot had her Twitter feed deluged by racist invective, pornography and hate speech. The raucous comic fought back against her attackers who responded by posting even more hateful messages, some under fake accounts bearing the names of Jones and the re-boot’s director, Paul Feig
The controversial and sexist criticism targeting Jones and her fellow Ghostbusters cast preceded the film’s release but one infamous Twitter troll and Breitbart editor, Milos Yiannopoulos, made a special point to single out Jones, the sole black cast member, for racial violence. The abuse was such that Yiannopoulos’ Twitter account was permanently suspended. The torrent of hateful images and taunting clearly affected Jones despite messages of support from friends and colleagues and efforts to publically condemn the attackers.
“You have to hate yourself to put out that type of hate,” Ms. Jones tweeted in the midst of receiving the online thrashing. “I mean on my worst day I can’t think of this type of hate to put out.”
Jones felt compelled to deactivate her Twitter rather than subject herself to the unchecked barrage of hateful comments. Jones is not alone. NY Times writer Jonathan Weisman left Twitter after a series of anti-Semitic attacks by random Twitter users. Weisman called out the social media giant’s inability to police account holders determined to eschew civil public discourse saying:
“Twitter appears determined to ignore its own terms of service, which also include a blanket prohibition on pornography.”
Twitter released the following statement in its defense:
“We rely on people to report this type of behavior to us, but we are continuing to invest heavily in improving our tools and enforcement systems to prevent this kind of abuse. We realize we still have a lot of work in front of us before Twitter is where it should be on how we handle these issues.”
Milo has joined the league of free speech crusaders and is in third person support of being freed.
The tech editor is still getting plenty of support from those who believe at the crux of all of this is having our First Amendment right taken away. While others, including The Huffington Post, merely see him as an opportunist. “For those of us who feel disdain for both the insensitive right and the hypersensitive left, Milo is just as ridiculous as the forms of politically correct culture he seeks to expose,” the site wrote.
Whether taking what it termed “enforcement action” against Yiannopoulos will serve as an effective deterrent to the minority of Twitter users who use it as a conduit for abusing others remains to be seen. For now, despite the traumatic incident, the six-foot comic appears ready to brave the digital trenches once more.
Welp…a bitch thought she could stay away. But who else is gonna live tweet Game of Thrones!!