“It’s so Gross and Mean and Unnecessary,” Leslie Jones Talks About Twitter Harassment
Leslie Jones has had a tough week consisting of her receiving a large amount heinously racist and sexist harassment online, the eventual banning of accounts guilty of abuse on Twitter, and her triumphant return to the platform. Jones spoke to Seth Meyers about the experience, reminding us how amazing she is as well as how important it is for platforms like Twitter to handle online abuse.
When Meyers said that he hopes this is the start of Twitter pushing back on hate speech and harassment, the Ghostbusters actress said:
I hope so. I mean, first of all I want to let everybody know that I did not leave Twitter, okay. I just signed out to deal with what was going on, went to bed, and I woke up the next morning and they were saying, “Oh, I left Twitter? Wait, I didn’t leave!”
You know, on of those type of things of, like, insults–What’s scary about the whole thing is the insults didn’t hurt me. Unfortunately, I’m used to the insults, that’s unfortunate. But what scared me was the injustice of a gang of people jumping against you for such a sick cause … like, everybody has an opinion, and it all comes at you at one time and they really believe in what they believe in and it’s so mean. Like, it’s so gross and mean and unnecessary.
So it was just one of those thing of, like, okay so if I hadn’t said anything nobody would have ever known about this. It would have never—all those people still would have an account.
If you were following the incident, you’ll also recall many users criticizing Twitter’s failure to handle the incident and the ineffectiveness of the “report” function. Jones describes this lack of security in a fitting analogy:
What I said when I approached Facebook, they was on it. Twitter? I was on them, like, “You, this is–okay, it’s like. ‘That’s my favorite restaurant. I love the food there. Three people just got shot in front of me. Y’all need to get some security.'”
Meyers added that Twitter’s changes also need to protect people dealing with the same type of harassment who might not have the same platform as Jones. Jones had met with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, whom she complimented:
He was cool, he helped me out. We got, like, a whole bunch of accounts taken off of Twitter. Because it’s not right, it’s not right to gang up on nobody.
On freedom of speech, Jones also ended with this note:
And to let people know, freedom of speech, because I know a lot of people came at me with that, ‘Hey, you messing with freedom of speech.’ Hey, hate speech and freedom of speech: two different things
The clip also includes a montage of videos in support of Jones and love for her Ghostbusters role. Seeing Jones react with glee and saying, “Wow, that’s—I’m affecting that many? … It makes you go ‘I’m not going nowhere,'” is really heartwarming and it’s great to see the positive voices overpowering the hateful ones.
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