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Arts & Entertainment

'Ghostbusters' actor Leslie Jones' and the perils of being a minority on Twitter




Actress Leslie Jones attends the Premiere of Sony Pictures'
Actress Leslie Jones attends the Premiere of Sony Pictures' "Ghostbusters" at TCL Chinese Theatre on July 9, 2016 in Hollywood, California.
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

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Despite a following of more than 227,000 users, Leslie Jones shut down her Twitter account this week. The  final post from the African American comedienne read:

Leslie Jones tweet

That movie was the new Ghostbusters reboot and it sparked a flood of hateful messages and abusive posts. Many of those posts were written by the technology editor at the conservative news site Breitbart, Milo Yiannopoulos who goes by the twitter handle @Nero. This week, Twitter shut down his account.

For more on all this, we were joined by another twitter user who has also had an experience with the darker side of social media, Ijeoma Oluo. She's Editor-At-Large for the website, the Establishment.

Interview Highlights

What kind of reactions has Leslie Jones been receiving on Twitter?

"She's been receiving absolutely vile reactions, not just people saying 'I don't like the movie' or 'I didn't like your part in the movie', people have been attacking her looks, they've been attacking her race. People have been saying she looks like a man, people have been comparing her to gorillas. She's been getting racist slurs and threats, it's been a nonstop onslaught for the last few days."

Could you share a little bit about, what has happened to you in this realm?

"Yes, this has happened to me and this has happened to pretty much any somewhat prominent black woman on Twitter. There will be times where you will write something or say something that an online group doesn't like and you end up on a message board, and this has happened to me...

The first time I remember it happening to me was actually discussing the Starbucks race together campaign and somehow that got onto a white supremacist message board and I was suddenly flooded with really violent hateful messages from white supremacists. I was getting pictures of lynchings, I was getting pictures of mutilated bodies, I was called names that I didn't even know were still in use for black people in America and it was really shocking and it's overwhelming."

Oluo went into further detail about the abuse she received online, the user who was at the forefront of Jones's abuse and  how people can go about promoting more peaceful and thoughtful discussions online.

To hear the full segment, click the blue play button above.