This should be an amazing time for Leslie Jones. Ghostbusters, which features the hilarious comedian in her first starring film role, just came out to solid reviews and a solid opening weekend at the box office. But instead of enjoying her success, Jones is busy battling viciously racist harassment online. Yesterday, she started tweeting about what she’s been going through, and the vitriol sent her way goes beyond Ghostbros complaining about their ruined childhoods. This is horrific stuff, as evidenced by the examples she posted:
Jones wrote about the importance of forcing people to “take responsibility” for the racism they spout. “Stop letting the ignorant people be the loud ones. Y’all I got more love than hate but they louder. Fuck that be louder,” she wrote. She also called out Twitter for the company’s inaction, and highlighted a user posing as her and posting homophobic content falsely under her name. “I feel like I’m in a personal hell. I didn’t do anything to deserve this. It’s just too much. It shouldn’t be like this. So hurt right now,” she explained.
Twitter did eventually issue a statement via a spokesperson (obtained via BuzzFeed). The too-little-too-late response only somewhat acknowledged how greatly the company is faltering when it comes to preventing and policing abuse.
This type of abusive behavior is not permitted on Twitter, and we’ve taken action on many of the accounts reported to us by both Leslie and others. 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.
At least some people on Twitter proved that there is a modicum of goodness left in the world, as the hashtag #LoveForLeslieJ gained steam. Ghostbusters director Paul Feig tweeted: “Leslie Jones is one of the greatest people I know. Any personal attacks against her are attacks against us all.” It’s unclear whether Jones is done with the medium for good, but her most recent tweet does indicate she’s bidding farewell to the platform.