Too often, it takes a prominent voice to make change happen. Many users on Twitter face undue harassment, but reporting that injustice and getting the responsible accounts banned is often difficult. This is why Leslie Jones decided to get vocal about the abuse she was facing on Twitter, the Ghostbusters star explained on Late Night with Seth Meyers on Thursday.
“What’s scary about the whole thing is the insults didn’t hurt me. Unfortunately, I’m used to the insults,” Jones said. “What scared me was the injustice of a gang of people jumping against you for such a sick cause. Everybody has an opinion, and it all comes at you at one time. They really believe in what they believe in, and it’s so mean. It’s so gross and mean. So it was one of those things where, okay, so, if I hadn’t said anything, nobody would’ve ever known about this. All those people would still have an account.”
Jones publicly called out her abuse and made a point of signing off Twitter, prompting messages of support from other celebrities and finally inspiring Twitter to permanently ban Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos, who had orchestrated much of Jones’ abuse. Those results took a few days, though, as Jones told Meyers.
“When I approached Facebook, they was on it. Twitter, I was on them,” Jones said. “It’s like, that’s my favorite restaurant. I love the food there. But three people just got shot in front of me. Y’all need to get some security!”
“There’s a lot of really smart people at that company, and they really need to start sorting out not just how to protect people like you but the people who don’t have this public forum,” Meyers said.
Jones said she did eventually work with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to identify and ban the accounts of abusers, and closed with a lesson about the limits of the term freedom of speech.
“To let people know, freedom of speech, a lot of people came at me with that. You know, ‘Hey, you messed with Freedom of Speech.’ Hate speech and freedom of speech, two different things,” Jones said.
Watch the full clip below, which includes a sweet fan-made video of people supporting Jones on social media.