BY ALBERT JIA
SNL cast member and co star of Ghostbusters Leslie Jones has been at the center of controversy lately, as her Twitter was bombarded with vitriolic harassment from internet trolls who shifted from criticizing the movie to directly criticizing her.
Comments ranged from “ Don’t let @Ghostbusters bombing let you down. You’re a shoo-in to star in the Harambe motion picture as the man himself,” to exclamatory phrases such as “SHE HAS NO STYLE SHE HAS NO GRACE THIS LESLIE (KONG) HAS A FUNNY FACE.”
While many of the tweets came from lesser-known Twitter users, prominent figure of the “alt-right” movement Milo Yiannopoulos also chimed in, accused Leslie Jones of playing a victim. After some arguing, Leslie Jones blocked Yiannopoulos on the social media platform, to which Yiannopoulos replied “Rejected by yet another black dude.” Later, one of Twitter’s administrators was contacted and Yiannopoulos was indefinitely banned from the platform. This sparked outrage among internet denizens, as many believed that Milo was unfairly targeted by Twitter for the ideas he expressed in the past rather than his involvement in Leslie Jones’s harassment, with many citing this ban as a direct attack on free speech.
Milo can be accurately characterized as a strangely fabulous beast, as he’s a flamboyant gay man, but also happens to be both conservative and Catholic. Yiannopoulos is also a Trump supporter who hates political correctness as well as feminism, labeling the latter as “cancer” on multiple occasions. His opinions are controversial to say the least, but in this recent incident, he did not actually breach Twitter’s harassment policy, which states that “You may not incite or engage in the targeted abuse or harassment of others.” While it’s true that intentionally misgendering someone is unkind, and a bad thing to do, there were many more deplorable comments which went right over Twitter’s head. He called Jones out for what he perceived as playing a victim, and then called her a “black dude”. Although the tweets were disrespectful, neither of them warrant an indefinite suspension; as compared with the tweets from anonymous users, these ones seem nice.
The users who actually engaged in the vitriolic harassment of Leslie Jones are likely harassing other people because they didn’t have their accounts banned while Milo did. People like Milo are banned from Twitter because their conservative views oppose the politically correct status quo, and Twitter’s left wing agenda has no room for a dissenting voice. Whether or not you agree with assertion that Twitter is a politically motivated platform that censors dissenting opinions, the one thing that Milo was undeniably right about is that his Twitter ban would “blow up in their faces, netting [him] more adoring fans,” as online news outlets everywhere rushed to give their two cents on the topic.
Ironically, in the days that followed Milo’s ban, the hashtag #freemilo was trending on Twitter, accompanied by the hashtag #JeSuisMilo, the former part of the hashtag originally being used show solidarity with Charlie Hebdo, the satirical French magazine that was attacked back in January 2015. As the old saying goes, all publicity is good publicity, which seems to have held true for Milo, but not so much for Twitter.