This past week, Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones made headlines after she received an absolute onslaught of racist tweets and decided to share and report the trolls who were hurling the abuse at her rather than sweep it under the rug. Throughout the week, Leslie received support from fans (famous and non-famous) but initially got very little response from Twitter itself. Finally, Twitter responded by banning the accounts of several of the worst trolls, including Milo Yiannopoulous, who instigated much of the harassment she received (read more about that over on Vox). Last night, Leslie appeared on Late Night with Seth Meyers to talk about the whole experience.
We thought Leslie made some really good points here. She’s clearly a fan of Twitter as a platform and uses it prolifically (and we love her for it – her live tweeting of various television shows and movies is always hilarious), but she’s rightly disappointed in the way they handle harassment. She notes that when she went to Facebook over similar problems, they were on it right away, but it took days of media coverage and actually meeting with the CEO for them to take the steps of banning the trolls. For most people who aren’t famous, this kind of escalation isn’t possible, and Twitter needs to get a better handle on this issue. Leslie compared Twitter to her favorite restaurant, saying that even if she loves the food there, if people are getting shot in the restaurant, they need to hire security to deal with it. She ended the interview with a line that perfectly sums up why banning someone from Twitter does not infringe on their right to free speech: “Hate speech and freedom of speech: two different things”.
Well said, Leslie. We look forward to your next live tweet session.