‘Ghostbusters’ Star Leslie Jones Leaves Twitter After Racist And Misogynistic Abuse
It’s sadly unsurprising that Leslie Jones was targeted by racist and sexist shitbags on Twitter as a black woman in the all-female remake of Ghostbusters. However, the rising action-comedy star stood up to them by exposing their abusive tweets for everyone to see. She screenshot a number of tweets which resorted to tactics such as comparing her to a gorilla, using full-on racist terms like “big-lipped coon,” and photoshopped photos of her face with semen on it (just Jones quoting; no retweeted photo, thank god). Someone even made a fake Leslie Jones account full of homophobic slurs. It’s like staring into the abyss, except the abyss is extremely racist.
In response, tweeter @MarissaRei1 created the hashtag #LoveforLeslieJ, which people are sharing to send messages of solidarity and support to Jones and to highlight the abuse she experienced. Nevertheless, the constant barrage of racism and misogyny understandably took its toll, and Jones announced she was leaving Twitter “with tears and a very sad heart. All this cause I did a movie.” Twitter’s notoriously poor record regarding harassment and abuse, particularly against women and people of color, didn’t help the situation either. Although Jones and many others reported the abusive tweeters, the vast majority of the accounts were not banned or even suspended.
The new Ghostbusters garnered $46 million this opening weekend — not enough to top the U.S. box office, as news coverage hasn’t failed to point out, but enough to get off to a strong start. It’s probably not a coincidence that Jones encountered this spate of horrible tweets at the same time audiences demonstrated that they would in fact pay good money to watch women busting ghosts.
The new Ghostbusters has been surrounded by sexist dude-bro rage since it was first announced, but this goes beyond the usual cries of “PUTTING WOMEN IN A REMAKE HAS RUINED MY CHILDHOOD.” As the aggressive racism and personal attacks in the tweets (seriously, a fake account for the purpose of smearing Jones as a homophobe?) reveal, this hatred is very much about race as well as gender, directed specifically against a black woman who’s dared to succeed in an established franchise. While Jones’ white co-stars have been subjected to sexism and misogyny online, they haven’t faced the same dehumanizing racism.
What Jones has undergone on Twitter is a symptom of the widespread verbal abuse black women and other women of color on social media regularly face. Many props to her for highlighting this important issue, especially since a lot of the general public might not have been aware of it otherwise. Let’s take what she’s shown us and use it to be better about treating each other with humanity.