This past weekend should have been one of celebration for Leslie Jones. Her new movie, Ghostbusters, had a respectable opening weekend and there was even talk of a sequel. Instead, thanks to a racist troll and his minions, she abandoned social media altogether.
A central figure in this fiasco is Milo Yiannopoulos, tech editor for the online publication Breitbart News and a prominent voice in the alt-right movement. The alt-right movement bills itself as anti political-correctness but, unsurprisingly, often finds its supporters descending into hateful rhetoric, xenophobia and anti-semitism.
To get a feel for the type of abuse Leslie Jones received, check out this article. In her final tweet, which I’ll leave unedited, it become clear why she left:
“Ok I have been called Apes, sent pics of their asses,even got a pic with semen on my face. I’m tryin to figure out what human means. I’m out”
Milo Yiannopoulos is no stranger to the Twitter ban. He has been suspended from the service several times before due to his antics. So, perhaps, he felt that this would be just another round of back-and-forth between him and the social media platform. This was not to be the case, however. On Tuesday, Yiannopoulos told Buzzfeed he had received a permanent ban.
According to Twitter, the ban was based on his targeting of a specific individual for online harassment, which is a violation of their terms. For his part, Yiannopoulos remains defiant, saying that Twitter has become a “no-go zone for conservatives” and anti-free speech.