Friday, May 27, 2022

Twitter Suspends Breitbart Tech Editor Over Leslie Jones Harassment

Milo Yiannopoulos (Breitbart.com)
Milo Yiannopoulos (Breitbart.com)

*Twitter has permanently suspended tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos of the conservative website Breitbart for his tweets harassing “Ghostbusters” star Leslie Jones, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The journalist was among several Twitter users who directed attacks at Jones following the release of the all-female “Ghostbusters” reboot. According to THR, Milo’s tweets called her work “terrible” and said that she was “barely literate.”

While Twitter confirmed that Yiannopoulos has been suspended from the service, the company did not specifically name his tweets against Jones as the reason, THR noted. A Twitter rep provided a statement when asked about the suspension that does mention Yiannopoulos by name, but instead notes that it has policies against abuse or harassment and that “over the past 48 hours in particular, we’ve seen an uptick in the number of accounts violating these policies and have taken enforcement actions against these accounts, ranging from warnings that also require the deletion of tweets violating our policies to permanent suspension.”

According to THR, this isn’t the first time Twitter has reacted to Yiannopoulos’ inflammatory behavior on the site. The company removed his verified status earlier this year and briefly suspended his account in June for his comments about the attack on the Orlando nightclub.

As previously reported, the “Ghostbusters” remake has sparked nasty and personal comments against its female stars since its first trailer, but attacks against Jones specifically spiked on Monday, prompting director Paul Feig to tweet in support of the “Saturday Night Live” cast member. The hashtag he used, #LoveForLeslieJ, quickly began trending.

Before announcing that she was leaving Twitter, Jones expressed hurt over the barrage of racist tweets she received and also called on Twitter to enact stricter guidelines on curbing hate speech.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey responded, tweeting at Jones to get in touch with him through Direct Message.

Dorsey also released a statement:

People should be able to express diverse opinions and beliefs on Twitter. But no one deserves to be subjected to targeted abuse online, and our rules prohibit inciting or engaging in the targeted abuse or harassment of others. Over the past 48 hours in particular, we’ve seen an uptick in the number of accounts violating these policies and have taken enforcement actions against these accounts, ranging from warnings that also require the deletion of Tweets violating our policies to permanent suspension.

We know many people believe we have not done enough to curb this type of behavior on Twitter. We agree. We are continuing to invest heavily in improving our tools and enforcement systems to better allow us to identify and take faster action on abuse as it’s happening and prevent repeat offenders. We have been in the process of reviewing our hateful conduct policy to prohibit additional types of abusive behavior and allow more types of reporting, with the goal of reducing the burden on the person being targeted. We’ll provide more details on those changes in the coming weeks.

Yiannopoulos sent THR a statement in response to his suspension:

With the cowardly suspension of my account, Twitter has confirmed itself as a safe space for Muslim terrorists and Black Lives Matter extremists, but a no-go zone for conservatives. Twitter is holding me responsible for the actions of fans and trolls using the special pretzel logic of the left. Where are the Twitter police when Justin Bieber’s fans cut themselves on his behalf?

Like all acts of the totalitarian regressive left, this will blow up in their faces, netting me more adoring fans. We’re winning the culture war, and Twitter just shot themselves in the foot. This is the end for Twitter. Anyone who cares about free speech has been sent a clear message: you’re not welcome on Twitter.

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