Twitter, that seething pit of hatred and rabid gerbils, let its ugly side show on Monday, when Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones received a torrent of vicious, racist, often sexually explicit hate tweets. The tweet storm, prompted in part by alt-right "professional troll" Milo Yiannopoulos, lasted hours, with Jones retweeting some of the hate to document it. On Thursday night, she stopped by Late Night to talk with Seth Meyers about the experience.
"The insults didn’t hurt me," Jones said. "I’m used to the insults. That’s unfortunate."
What made it worse was how bad Twitter was at getting it under control, she said. "When I approached Facebook, they were on it," she pointed out.
Twitter is famously terrible at stopping harassment. While Twitter's terms of service technically forbid harassment and hate speech, Twitter administrators rarely enforce those rules. You can report someone for harassing you, but it's unlikely that Twitter will delete their account in response.
Jones’s case is just the latest high-profile instance of racist, sexist trolls using Twitter to dogpile a target. But those dogpiles happen every day, and in most cases Twitter’s response is a hearty ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
Jones has enough of a following that Twitter was eventually forced to respond to her plight, and they banned Yiannopoulos and a number of his followers. But Jones, who is prolific on Twitter, was clearly disappointed with them.
"It’s like, that’s my favorite restaurant," she explained. "I love the food there. Three people just got shot in front of me. Y’all need to get some security."