Twitter bans Breitbart editor after abuse of 'Ghostbusters' star
Los Angeles (AFP) – Twitter has banned an editor at the conservative Breitbart website following a wave of targeted racial slurs that drove “Ghostbusters” star Leslie Jones to abandon the social media platform in disgust.
Milo Yiannopoulos, the website’s tech editor known for provocative posts, was quoted by Breitbart late Tuesday as calling his suspension “cowardly”.
“Twitter has confirmed itself as a safe space for Muslim terrorists and Black Lives Matter extremists, but a no-go zone for conservatives.”
The suspension came a day after Jones, who is African American, said she was leaving Twitter after being bombarded by Internet trolls likening her to an ape and making other racist insults.
“I leave Twitter tonight with tears and a very sad heart. All this cause I did a movie. You can hate the movie but the shit I got today… wrong,” the Saturday Night Live comedian and actress said late Monday.
“Twitter I understand you got free speech I get it. But there has to be some guidelines when you let spread like that,” she said in another tweet.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey responded with a tweet back to Jones saying he was “following” and asking her to contact him directly.
– ‘Repeated violations’ –
Yiannopoulos’ Twitter account, which had more than 388,000 followers, was blocked sometime later.
“Your account has been permanently suspended for repeated violations of the Twitter rules … specifically our rules prohibiting or participating in or inciting targeted abuse of individuals,” the Twitter notification posted by Breitbart said.
The torrent of abuse comes after the weekend US release of the movie, which has been lauded by critics but maligned by men who have accused its female stars of being unfunny and of having ruined their childhoods.
One troll wrote: “Don’t let #Ghostbusters bombing get you down. You’re a shoo-in to star in the Harambe mon picture as the man himself.”
The slur referred to the death of Harambe the gorilla, who was shot dead in May at Cincinnati Zoo after a three-year-old boy fell into its enclosure.
The fuming 48-year-old Jones responded to the abuse by taking screenshots and retweeting many of the slurs, saying they had made her “numb.”
“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,” she tweeted.
Supporters started a #LoveForLeslieJ hashtag, encouraging Jones to “stay strong” and return to Twitter, while celebrities including actors John Boyega and Jada Pinkett Smith publicly offered their support.
“Ghostbusters” director Paul Feig tweeted: “Leslie Jones is one of the greatest people I know. Any personal attacks against her are attacks against us all.”
Twitter released a statement saying it had “taken action” on many of the accounts reported for abusing Jones.