Saturday Night Live’s Leslie Jones, star of the Sony reboot of Ghostbusters, may have busted ghosts this weekend at the box office, but lately, she’s busting trolls on the internet. Jones was the target of multiple racist, sexist and hateful tweets on Twitter, and the vitriol went on for hours. The comedienne at first blocked and reported the hate, but then decided to share it with her followers in hopes of getting them shut down faster.
Ghostbusters is Jones’ first movie, and this is her first starring vehicle. At a time when she should be elated, instead, she was the target of hate on Twitter. The incident shines a spotlight on just how spiteful the social network can be, and why so many celebrities either shut down their Twitter or have their profile managed by their representatives.
As Jones was inundated with tweets calling her an “ape” “the source of AIDS” and other hateful rhetoric, she begged Twitter and CEO Jack Dorsey to step in. Then the hate went even farther, as people started sharing Photoshopped tweets, making it look like she was sending racist tweets to people. Finally, Twitter went after @Nero, also known as Milo Yiannopoulos. Milo Yiannopoulos is a writer on Breitbart and is an outspoken conservative. Media are saying that he, after his Ghostbusters review, launched a targeted and thorough hate campaign towards Jones. He was also sharing the doctored tweets.
In response to the hours of hate Jones received, fans started the #LoveforLeslieJ hashtag, and people started tweeting their appreciation of the movie, and her performance. Many mothers said that their daughters loved the film, and wanted to be Ghostbusters themselves.
Monday night, Jones had finally had enough and share her thoughts:
“I leave Twitter tonight with tears and a very sad heart. All this cause I did a movie. You can hate the movie but the shit I got today…wrong.”
Jones wasn’t alone though, as celebrities also started tweeting their support and asking Twitter to consider looking at their policies again. Chrissy Teigen, star of Lip Sync Battle, sent a series of tweets to Twitter:
I love you, @Twitter. I love you so much. But please get it together. Stand up for your users who deserve better.
At the least, delete the account. ANYTHING to show you give a damn would be nice.
maybe I’ll quit everything, move up to San Fran and sit at Twitter HQ & do it myself. But who will be an idiot on lip sync battle if not me
Paul Feig, director of Ghostbusters, supported Jones, as did other celebrities like Margaret Cho, Damon Wayans Jr, John Boyega, Jaime King, Judd Apatow, and more.
Eventually Dorsey did reach out to Jones, and asked her to DM him. The next day, the ban of Yiannopoulos was announced. The writer has now been permanently banned by Twitter, and his fans are crying foul. The #FreeMilo hashtag has been set up, though some Australians are trolling it by posting photos of their favorite chocolate drink, also named Milo.
Ghostbusters has been the target of criticism since its announcement, and was the most disliked trailer in the history of YouTube. Many have said the movie destroyed their childhood Ghostbusters, but the film still did well at the box office. For now, Jones has remained silent on Twitter, but her Facebook page is full of praise for her and her performance.