Homeland Security is investigating nude-photo cyberattack on Leslie Jones

Leslie Jones' website was hacked Wednesday, and stolen nude photos and identification of the actress were posted.
(Chris Pizzello / Associated Press)

The cyberattack on “Ghostbusters” actress Leslie Jones is being handled at a federal level, Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Thursday.

ICE, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security, told the Associated Press that its New York office is looking into the breach, which included nude pictures of Jones along with images of her driver’s license and passport and a racist video posted on her personal website.

No further details about the investigation were given. Jones’ team took her website offline Wednesday morning, and as of Thursday afternoon, it wasn’t back up.


Previous high-profile hacking incidents — one in 2011 in which Scarlett Johansson was the biggest name involved, and another in 2014 where Jennifer Lawrence was the top target — have been handled by the FBI. ICE did not immediately respond to a query from The Times as to why it was handling this case instead of the FBI, and an FBI spokeswoman had no information.

Meanwhile, celebrities including Ellen DeGeneres, Katy Perry and Lena Dunham were vocal on Twitter about their support for the “Saturday Night Live” cast member. Monica Lewinsky, no stranger to public scorn, urged people to send an image of love to the “Ghostbusters” actress on tweets referencing the cyberattack.

“Dumbfounded at the high tech lynching that #lesliejones is enduring,” Bette Midler said, invoking a phrase originally coined by Clarence Thomas in the course of denying Anita Hill’s sexual harassment allegations during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings. “What does she do but try to make people laugh?Hate Assad & ISIS instead!”

“[Y]ou are beautiful & talented & bring laughter into a world that desperately needs it. You are also my friend & I support you,” DeGeneres tweeted at Jones.

“Do not give your eyeballs to this racist, hate-filled, misogynoir crime. I #StandWithLeslie,” wrote Katy Perry.


“This @Lesdoggg attack is troubling,” Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer wrote. “The rampant racism percolating in society right now is shameful and sad. She made a movie, that’s it!”

“Let’s turn our anger at trolls into love for Leslie Jones and into strategies to protect all the heroines who don’t deserve this...,” tweeted Lena Dunham, while Alyssa Milano asked: “Do me a favor? Please don’t share or view the Leslie Jones personal info/photos. Support Leslie by not supporting the ... that did this.”

Don’t support these hackers by looking at that private stuff.

— comic Chris D’Elia

Guys were there supporting Jones as well.

Questlove spoke out, saying, “these acts against leslie jones....are sickening. its racist & sexist. it’s disgusting. this is hate crimes. this aint ‘kids joshing round.’ ” Jones’ former “Saturday Night Live” colleague Taran Killam had a wish: “May many (more) bad things befall the cowards who’ve attacked my friend, @Lesdoggg. They are the worst of humanity, where she is the best.”

“I love @Lesdoggg. One of the sweetest, funniest people I have ever met. Don’t support these hackers by looking at that private stuff,” said comic Chris D’Elia.

“Milo and his band of ignorant, future victims of natural selection will never collectively be as successful as Leslie Jones,” wrote Montel Williams, referencing Milo Yiannopoulos, the alt-right Breitbart Tech writer who, after tangling with Jones on Twitter in July, was perma-banned for what the site called “targeted abuse online.”

But even Yiannopoulos, amid speculation that the hacker or hackers might be among his fans, had something supportive to say.

“I was distressed to hear that Leslie Jones has been hacked and naked pictures of her have been posted online,” he said Wednesday on Facebook. “I know we had our differences after my review of Ghostbusters but I wish her all the best during what must be a very traumatic experience.”

Follow Christie D’Zurilla on Twitter @theCDZ.


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