Leslie Jones should have been out busting ghosts and celebrating this weekend; instead, she spent her time busting racist Ghostbros on Twitter. On Monday night (July 18), Jones exposed the barrage of hateful comments and memes she's received since the release of Ghostbusters, tweeting, "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."
And in the end it was all too much for Jones, who ended the night in tears.
Simply put, this is bullshit. Jones doesn't deserve this kind of backlash just for being A) a woman of color on the internet and B) in Ghostbusters. She even tweeted a plea to Twitter to "stop letting the ignorant people be the loud ones."
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey reached out to Jones late Monday night asking her to send him a direct message. Whether this will lead to actual change, however, remains to be seen. After all, August marks the two-year anniversary of Gamergate — when women in the gaming industry were the recipients of rape threats, death threats, and doxxing (the release of someone's personal documents over the internet) and driven from their homes — and nothing has been done to protect women, or anyone really, from this level of harassment.
What's truly upsetting about Jones's entire ordeal is how common it's become. We laugh off internet trolls as if they're nothing, but in reality, they're causing real distress and psychological damage. And marginalized groups — people of color, those who come out as LGBTQ, women, and especially women of color — are often the biggest target for trolls and hateful commenters.
This has to stop.
Jones is one of the breakout stars of the summer. She steals every scene in Ghostbusters, along with her Saturday Night Live buddy Kate McKinnon, and it's a damn shame that instead of celebrating her first leading role in a major summer blockbuster, she's being called vile names on the internet by human trash receptacles because she doesn't fit their definition of a movie star — which is exactly why we need her.
I could say something like, "Don't let the trolls win, Leslie!" but the reality of the situation is that something more needs to be done. And it's not up to Jones to temper her feelings or pretend racist comments don't bother her. Maybe it's time we start busting these trolls together.