The Leslie Jones website hack this month has prompted fans and critics alike to spread their opinions on social media.
Hackers managed to get into Jones’ official website and post personal information, as well as “nude photos” and “racist imagery,” as CNET reports.
It’s a serious situation in more ways than one, which is why it’s becoming a federal security investigation. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced on Thursday, August 25, that they’ll be looking into the hack targeting Leslie Jones, but aren’t commenting any further because it is an active investigation.
Even before the hack, Leslie Jones has been a target of cyberbullying and racist messaging since the new adaptation of Ghostbusters directed by Paul Feig arrived. In the film, she stars alongside Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, and Kate McKinnon. As a remake, it raised heated controversy because it’s the first time that the Ghostbusters have been portrayed by women, but the disturbing criticism towards Leslie Jones in particular has escalated in recent weeks.
Before her website was hacked, Jones endured an onslaught of tweets brutally attacking her skin color and gender that prompted her to briefly leave social media. She tweeted that some of the messages brought her to tears, and that the attacks were her “personal hell.”
All of the unfair attacks on Jones spawned the hashtags LoveforLeslieJ and #IStandWithLeslie, in which thousands have expressed their support for the actress. Celebrities, journalists, and other public figures have jumped in to defend her as well.
An egregious breach of Leslie Jones' privacy occurred today. How can people be so vicious and callous? This is sickening. #IStandWithLeslie— tᕼe ᒪᑌᑕᗩᔕ ᗷᖇOᔕ (@lucasbros) August 25, 2016
these acts against leslie jones....are sickening. its racist & sexist. it's disgusting. this is hate crimes. this aint "kids joshing round"— Questlove Gomez (@questlove) August 24, 2016
and y'all making side comments and jokes and not speaking out is not cool y'all— Questlove Gomez (@questlove) August 24, 2016
The Saturday Night Live star addressed the initial round of cyber bullying during an appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers, saying that the insults weren’t really what affected her most.
“I did not leave Twitter. I just signed out because I wanted to deal with what was going on. What’s scary about the whole thing is that the insults didn’t hurt me. Unfortunately, I’m used to the insults. What scared me was the injustice of a gang of people jumping against you for such a sick cause. It was like, everybody has an opinion and it all comes at you at one time. It’s so gross and mean and unnecessary.”
She went on to explain that if she hadn’t called her haters out, nothing would have been done about it. Twitter was initially unresponsive, but they did begin suspending accounts after some time, including one for British right-wing journalist Milo Yiannopoulos, who spearheaded some of the attacks against her.
“It’s not right. It’s not right to gang up on [anybody],” she concluded. “Hate speech and freedom of speech–two different things.”
Actor and comedian Kevin Hart sent some positivity her way during a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly as well, calling the hatred towards the female cast “ridiculous.”
“A critic’s job is to critique. But the flack they were trying to give these women in Ghostbusters, it was just so ridiculous. People take remakes as if you’re trying to destroy what’s been done — you’re living in the day and age where every movie’s been done!
“So I applaud those women for going and doing it, and they were funny. Those women were funny. And not only has Leslie been in the business of comedy for years, but the first opportunity she has in a big role, people try to destroy her character — the sea of negative flack that came with it, it was ridiculous…
“…I just wanted to give a shoutout — especially to my girl Leslie. You worked hard to get here, you’re gonna get here, and then there’s another stop after this. Don’t let that s— get to you. Just keep winning.”
To think, all of this ugliness towards Leslie Jones began because Ghostbusters features a female cast this year. Social media is a platform for everyone to have a voice, but that doesn’t mean anyone should ever have to endure racist or sexist comments against them.
The Leslie Jones hack is despicable, and hopefully the ICE investigation bring some justice.
[Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP Images]