We reported Tuesday (June 19) on the torrent of racist and sexist abuse “Ghostbusters” star Leslie Jones faced after the movie’s premiere. Twitter took action yesterday (June 20) by permanently banning a conservative journalist and commentator who targeted Jones and previously broke Twitter’s terms of service.
The New York Times reported that Breitbart technology editor Milo Yiannopoulos was permanently suspensed from the social media platform after he rallied his supporters to attack her. Jones reported the British journalist, and other users who hurled more explicitly racist vitriol at her, before temporarily abandoning the platform herself.
“People should be able to express diverse opinions and beliefs on Twitter,” a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement cited by The Times. ”But no one deserves to be subjected to targeted abuse online, and our rules prohibit inciting or engaging in the targeted abuse or harassment of others.” Jones called out Twitter’s non-response to the hateful tweets before CEO Jack Dorsey intervened.
Yiannopoulos issued a statement to NPR, saying, “Twitter has suspended me without evidence of wrongdoing and without explanation while allowing the most appalling abuses to continue on its platform.” While speaking at a “Gays for Trump” event at the Republican National Convention (RNC), the journalist said that he was suspended ”for getting into a fight with a Black Ghostbuster.”
The Washington Post said that Yiannopoulos “often used his popular Twitter account to identify and mock enemies of the ‘alt-right,’ a grouping of anti-politically-correct die-hards, trolls and racist meme lords who have united around their common liberal targets.” He received several warnings from Twitter for violation of service terms in the past, earning a temporary suspension and losing his blue verification mark after pretending to be Buzzfeed’s “social justice editor.”