‘Ghostbusters’ star Leslie Jones highlights rampant racist abuse on Twitter

UPDATE (Jul. 22): Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones has returned to Twitter just days after suggesting she was leaving the platform due to rampant racist abuse.

“Thanks for the love and support I received! Made me feel real special,” she wrote, after joking about live tweeting Game of Thrones.

Twitter itself even welcomed the actress’ return.


Leslie Jones has been compared to an ape, been told she is the “source of aids” and had dozens of racial slurs hurled at her on Twitter since beginning promotion for the new Ghostbusters movie – and she is officially fed up.

On Monday, Jones began tweeting screenshots of some of the racist tweets she said have inundated her Twitter feed since beginning press for the movie.

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READ MORE: ‘Ghostbusters’ review: Playing it safe to preserve the movie’s legacy

“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,” Jones tweeted.

“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.”

In a series of emotional tweets, Jones said she felt “numb” from her experience on Twitter, adding that while she loves sharing her life with fans on social media she isn’t sure if it’s worthy of the abuse.

Soon after Jones began sharing her experience, the hashtag #LoveForLeslieJ began trending as Twitter users rushed to her defense and helped her report some of the racist tweets.

Paul Feig, who directed and co-wrote the Ghostbusters reboot, also came to her defense.

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But as more users became outraged over the issue the attention turned to Twitter – many users accusing the social network of not doing enough to control hate speech on the platform.

This isn’t the first time Twitter has come under fire for its handling of racism, hate speech and violent threats.

Late last year, the microblogging site updated its rules on what it considers to be abusive behaviour and hateful content following criticism it was not doing enough to prevent the Islamic State’s use of the site for recruiting.

In May, Twitter joined forces with the European Union and several other tech firms – including Facebook and Google – to create a so-called “code of conduct” to combat hate speech online.

READ MORE: Twitter updates rules on banned content, abusive behaviour

Under that code of conduct, tech firms like Twitter will have to investigate any posts flagged for hate speech within 24 hours and issue “clear and effective processes to review notifications regarding illegal hate speech,” among other things.

According to Twitter’s terms of use, users are prohibited from attacking anyone “on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease.”

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In a statement to Global News, a Twitter spokesperson said the social networking site has taken action on many of the accounts reported to them by both Jones and others. The spokesperson noted that Twitter has also committed to improving its tools in place to prevent abuse.

“We rely on people to report this type of behavior to us but we are continuing to invest heavily in improving our tools and enforcement systems to prevent this kind of abuse,” read the statement. ‘

“We realize we still have a lot of work in front of us before Twitter is where it should be on how we handle these issues.”

Jones issued a final thought on the matter before signing off Twitter Monday. She has not tweeted since.