Hurt, angry and defiant, “Ghostbusters” star Leslie Jones roared back against internet trolls who had harassed her with virulently racist tweets, engendering responses from Twitter’s CEO and many celebrities.
Confronting highly charged language and imagery, “Saturday Night Live” cast-member Jones, 48, eventually stopped blocking the offending parties so her Twitter followers “can go through my feed yourself and see…. You won’t believe the evil. It’s [expletive] scary.”
She also had to confront a Twitter troll posting fake homophobic comments purportedly from her.
“It’s so sad, most of these comments sound like they are from ignorant children,” Jones wrote Monday night in a string of nearly 30 tweets. She added, “You have to hate yourself to put out that type of hate. I mean on my worst day I can’t think of this type of hate to put out. I don’t know how to feel. I’m numb. Actually numb. I see the words and pics and videos. Videos y’all.”
Jones wrote, “I know there is racism. But I’m … that naive to think that some things was changing yes I was. We still live in a world where we have to say ‘black lives matter.’ I’m so tired of it. Why is this still a fight?” She concluded a string of messages early Tuesday morning. “I leave Twitter tonight with tears and a very sad heart,” Jones wrote. “All this cause I did a movie.”
Paul Feig, director and co-writer of the “Ghostbusters” remake in which Jones stars, defended her, tweeting, “Leslie Jones is one of the greatest people I know. Any personal attacks against her are attacks against us all.” Comedian Margaret Cho called her “an inspiration and a legend in the making,” while singer Lorde said Jones “was so cool to us when we played SNL. … you trolls live rent free at your mum’s house.” Dan Slott, longtime writer of “The Amazing Spider-Man,” told her, “I admire the hell out of you today.”
Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey eventually jumped in, tweeting, “Hi Leslie, following, please [direct message] me when you have a moment.” Twitter itself initially issued only a statement linking to a description of “our content boundaries,” but later told Buzzfeed.com: “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.”