In the months leading up to the release of the “Ghostbusters” reboot, the film’s female stars have been the targets of criticism from online trolls who feel immense loyalty to the 1984 original.
Now that the movie has hit theaters — debuting with over $46 million in box-office receipts last weekend — the hatred hasn’t stopped. In fact, it has perhaps only gotten worse.
On Monday, actress and “Saturday Night Live” member Leslie Jones — who stars in the new “Ghostbusters” alongside Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Kristen Wiig — began retweeting disturbing personal attacks being sent her way on Twitter. The majority of the comments had to do with her race, referring to her as an “ape” and a “savage.”
Almost immediately upon seeing the vile messages, Jones’ fans began reaching out to Twitter, imploring the social media site to update its harassment policy. (Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s chief executive, did send a public message to Jones on Monday night urging her to get in touch with him, though there’s no word yet on the result of that potential conversation.)
Meanwhile, Paul Feig, the director of the film, started rallying “Ghostbusters” fans behind the 48-year old actress.
Following Feig’s lead, a handful of celebrities — Brie Larson, Elizabeth Banks, Anna Kendrick — started sending positive words Jones’ way with the hashtag #LoveForLeslieJ.
Despite the outpouring of Hollywood love, however, on Monday evening Jones was still wading through a barrage of racist and misogynist tweets. She then sent out a string of somber messages, ending with a note that seemed to imply she will no longer maintain a Twitter account.
Just last week, in an interview with The Times, Jones discussed how difficult it is to maintain a healthy sense of self when faced with criticism in the digital age. She said she tries to block out judgment, paying mind only to an inner monologue that reminds her of her worth.
“I know who I am,” she said. “And I don’t care if you think I’m sexy.”
“The Internet has made it so we don’t have to sit together anymore,” she continued. “It’s so self-absorbed. No one has to talk to each other anymore, and people don’t realize that that is killing us.”
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