In a debacle that is reaching nearly Shakespearean levels of drama, gay conservative activist and writer Milo Yiannopoulos has been expelled — reportedly permanently — from Twitter, due to the racist abuse Leslie Jones received over the last several days, reports Breitbart.
The Twitter organization has been walking a tightrope as it attempts to strike a balance between stopping abuse by its user base and being true to its stated mission of letting everyone — including people with controversial opinions — have a voice on the platform.
In this case, the tech giant has managed to fall on the tightrope, splitting itself painfully right up the middle. Users on both sides of the debate are furious with the social media company.
Leslie Jones, the black star of the reboot Ghostbusters movie, has been under attack on Twitter. Jones had been targeted by fanatical Ghostbusters fans since the movie was released in America several days ago. Jones started replying to some of the more racist and sexist remarks directed toward her on Twitter, mostly with requests for the social media platform to take action against the users, reports Zap2it.
Twitter permanently bans Trump-supporting journalist Milo Yiannopoulos after Leslie Jones Ghostbusters abuse https://t.co/i8nCTmnZwc— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) July 20, 2016
Twitter took its time responding and finally made a statement on Tuesday morning.
“This type of abusive behavior is not permitted on Twitter, and we’ve taken action on many of the accounts reported to us by both Leslie and others. 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. 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.”
It was this blanket ban that removed Milo from Twitter, reports Breitbart. Was Twitter correct to do this? The interaction between Jones and Yiannopoulos was risque and off-color but definitely not abusive, judging from the few archived tweets that are still visible.
Milo Yiannopoulos: I Have No Regrets Over Twitter Fight With 'Ghostbusters' star Leslie Jones|HeatSt https://t.co/KYD1APvk1Q— Louise Mensch (@LouiseMensch) July 20, 2016
With over 300,000 followers, Milo is no stranger to being suspended from Twitter. #FreeMilo and #FreeNero are two popular tags that have come up since the conservative figure was banned.
Milo speculated that Leslie Jones must have read his scathing review of the Ghostbusters film, which he called a “social justice dumpster fire.”
“She must have read my review! Honestly, this is why I say feminism is cancer. She used to be funny but being involved in a social justice dumpster fire like Ghostbusters has reduced her to the status of just another frothing loon on Twitter.”
The opinionated Breitbart writer accused Jones of reporting people “for saying that her movie sucked.”
“Imagine it: the star of a Hollywood blockbuster sitting at home reporting random people on social media for saying her movie sucked. Sad!”
Leslie Jones has already left Twitter, according to The Pedestrian. Jones left the platform after writing a final heartfelt message of anguish. The actress pleaded with her abusers, asking why people on social media cannot show basic respect and common decency.
I feel like I'm in a personal hell. I didn't do anything to deserve this. It's just too much. It shouldn't be like this. So hurt right now.— Leslie Jones (@Lesdoggg) July 19, 2016
I leave Twitter tonight with tears and a very sad heart.All this cause I did a movie.You can hate the movie but the shit I got today...wrong— Leslie Jones (@Lesdoggg) July 19, 2016
Twitter comes off looking the worse for this. Its business model is already failing, as reported by Investopedia, and the Milo/Leslie Jones case shows that Twitter’s moderation and banning policies are in an absolute shambles.
[Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images]