Twitter Suspends Milo Yiannopoulos For Harassing Leslie Jones, But That Doesn’t Mean Everyone Is Safe
Ghostbusters’ and Saturday Night Live’s Leslie Jones won a huge victory this week. After she retweeted some fucking awful racist tweets from trolls, Twitter suspended Milo Yiannopoulos for leading the harassment against Jones. The comedian had been retweeting the hate since Monday, and some of the tweets were so fucking disgusting — comparing Jones to apes disgusting — that anyone with a conscious or soul or hope for the future of our planet should be saddened and angered and want to shut up the sorry little assholes.
On Monday, Jones retweeted her request to the social network to suspend the accounts that were harassing her. They responded with a generic statement, directing the comedian to their content guidelines. Apparently, hateful, violent language is allowed on Twitter. On Tuesday, Jones announced she was leaving Twitter, “with tears and a very sad heart.” When that news started trending, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey asked her to DM him about the harassment and said he could take care of it. With the spotlight on the social network, Dorsey got his team to work to protect Jones, who obviously deserves to be protected. After some work, it came to light that Yiannopoulos, a 32-year-old British guy and editor for Breitbart News, was behind all of it.
Yiannopoulos is scary. He supports Trump like nobody’s business, has ranted about rape victims and Islam, started a scholarship fund for white men, and is all around terrible. He also harasses people on the internet. While #LoveforLeslieJ was trending this morning, so was #FreeMilo — apparently people like this fucker, including this crazy woman.
So, Twitter was right to step in and suspend his account. It’s not censorship to say that certain kinds of speech are not welcome in certain places. It’s just what we, as a society, have to do. Even Yiannopoulos has written about internet trolls, the scourge of the internet.
Twitter said in a statement, “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.”
Here’s the thing, though: being harassed and bullied on the internet is super terrifying and stressful, whether you’re a celeb or not. What Jones has gone through in the past days is nothing fucking new. I’m glad they stepped in and now people are talking about it, but Twitter lets hate speech like this run rampant all the time. Anyone remember its response to anti-semitic groups trolling so hard that Jewish writers started putting the echo around their handles? Or any of the random harassment that women face on the reg?
Twitter is a private company — it’s not a public square. They should protect their users from evil. And calling a black woman an ape over and and over and over again? That’s evil. So is continuously harassing any group or individual.