There’s been some awfully vocal opposition to the female-led Ghostbusters movie that extends beyond its middling first trailer. But everyone—yes, even the sites that report such things—looked forward to the furor dying down once the movie premiered and informed opinions could be made in place of knee-jerk reactions. Unfortunately, the vitriol that was once being aimed at the cast and crew, including director Paul Feig, has been funneled towards Leslie Jones, one of the new Ghostbusters.
The actress-comedian began sharing all the racist tweets she was receiving, imploring Twitter to do something about the abuse. Well, the social-media company has actually heard the call, and announced today that it is suspending a number of user accounts associated with the online attacks on Jones, including that of Milo Yiannopoulos. Twitter has permanently suspended his account after reportedly finding that the Breitbart tech editor incited his followers to tweet the offensive remarks at Jones.
The action was taken in response to Yiannopoulos’ behavior, which Twitter said “violated its rules regarding the targeted abuse of specific users.” Here’s the company’s full statement.
People should be able to express diverse opinions and beliefs on Twitter. But no one deserves to be subjected to targeted abuse online, and our rules prohibit inciting or engaging in the targeted abuse or harassment of others. Over the past 48 hours in particular, we’ve seen an uptick in the number of accounts violating these policies and have taken enforcement actions against these accounts, ranging from warnings that also require the deletion of Tweets violating our policies to permanent suspension.
We know many people believe we have not done enough to curb this type of behavior on Twitter. We agree. We are continuing to invest heavily in improving our tools and enforcement systems to better allow us to identify and take faster action on abuse as it’s happening and prevent repeat offenders. We have been in the process of reviewing our hateful conduct policy to prohibit additional types of abusive behavior and allow more types of reporting, with the goal of reducing the burden on the person being targeted. We’ll provide more details on those changes in the coming weeks.
Yiannopoulos’ account has been suspended before; he told BuzzFeed he wasn’t sure if he’d try to have it reinstated following this permanent ban, then later wrote on the Breitbart site that he was being held “responsible for the actions of fans and trolls using the special pretzel logic of the left,” adding that “this is the end for Twitter. Anyone who cares about free speech has been sent a clear message: you’re not welcome on Twitter.”
Twitter didn’t release the names of the other accounts it suspended in response to the attacks on Jones, but Reuters reports that those actions will be permanent as well.