Skip to main content

Leslie Jones: 'hate speech and freedom of speech are two different things'

Leslie Jones: 'hate speech and freedom of speech are two different things'

Share this story

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones is back on Twitter after several days of horrific abuse at the hands of anonymous trolls. The actress spoke with Seth Meyers last night about her experiences from the last couple of days.

As Ghostbusters enjoyed its weekend box office run, Jones found herself targeted by a whole host of Twitter trolls. She spent part of the evening posting up screenshots of the tweets that were being directed at her. The ensuing spotlight had some dramatic results, capturing a news cycle on the abuse and Twitter’s lax enforcement for users who feel that they’re being targeted. Jones then left for the night with a tweet that let many to assume that she was leaving permanently.

"What scared me was the injustice of a gang of people jumping against you for a sick cause," she told Meyers. "If I hadn’t said anything [about the abuse], nobody would have known about this. All those people would still have an account."

On Seth Meyer's show, Jones clarified that she never left Twitter — she never deleted her account and hadn’t planned on leaving the service. After a long night, she was frustrated and needed a break.

The firestorm of publicity drew in wide criticism of Twitter's policies on abuse, and led Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to reach out to Jones directly.

Jones noted that she worked with Dorsey and Twitter to get some accounts taken down. "I met the CEO of Twitter," she told him. "They helped me out, we got a whole bunch of account taken off of Twitter." One of those accounts included that of notorious troll Milo Yiannopoulos, who was barred permanently from the service. However, in order to get their house in order, Twitter has to make some bigger changes in how it deals with abuse. As the company continues to lose active users, Twitter will need to demonstrate that it’ll take more than a beleaguered user calling for help to make sure that users are safe. Jones ended her interview with a clear pointer for Twitter and users alike: "Hate speech and freedom of speech are two different things."