Twitter has banned conservative blogger Milo Yiannopoulos from its social media service after Ghostbusters actress Leslie Jones was Tweeted racist, insulting comments from Twitter users.
Yiannopoulos, who had more than 350,000 followers, has been a provocative and unapologetic voice on the platform. He’s been vocal in the contentious movement known as GamerGate, which claims to promote ethics in gaming journalism but has been condemned for its treatment of women. And most recently he was seen as an instigator for the hate spewed at Jones. She called him out on Twitter Monday evening and separately criticized the platform for its inability to filter hateful content.
I’m not sure how Twitter determined Milo Yiannopoulos instigated the hate spewed towards Leslie Jones. Milo Yiannopoulos had his Twitter account shutdown not for anything he did, but for the actions of others. That makes absolutely no sense to me.
This is not the first time Twitter has taken action against Milo Yiannopoulos. He’s been suspended before. He also had his blue checkmark, the indicator that he’s been verified by Twitter as the real Milo Yiannopoulos, removed because of something he supposedly said on Twitter.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of Milo Yiannopoulos. I disagree with him on almost everything he claims to believe. I used to follow him on Twitter back in the day just to read the stupid things he would say, but that turned out to be not as entertaining as I imagined it would be.
A little bit of Milo Yiannopoulos goes a long way.
That’s not to say I think he should have his Twitter account closed, especially in response to the actions of others. It’s not like he told people to tweet mean things to Leslie Jones. If Twitter has any value to society, it’s that it allows people to share their thoughts and opinions in 140 characters or less. If you don’t want to read what someone says on Twitter, you can just not read what they have to tweet. You can also block them from interacting with you. It’s really not hard.
I actually like Leslie Jones. I don’t watch Saturday Night Live anymore, but I do watch the occasional skit on YouTube. She’s by far the funniest cast member. Lately, she’s been using her personal Twitter account to promote Ghostbusters, a movie that rubs a lot of people the wrong way, either because they’re misogynists, or because the movie is a steaming pile of dog shit that is ruining the original movie’s legacy.
I always thought Ghostbusters II did that.
Leslie Jones’ Twitter account looks less like a personal account and more like the official Ghostbusters Twitter account run by Columbia Pictures. Personal Twitter accounts are best used when they’re used as personal accounts, not another promotional tool for a billion dollar movie studio. I think Leslie Jones received hateful, racist comments on Twitter because she used her personal Twitter account to promote a controversial movie. She’s been on Twitter since 2009. She only became a lighting rod of bigoted hate when she started promoting Ghostbusters.
One good thing about this whole controversy is that it’s gotten a lot of press for Ghostbusters. The movie premiered last weekend and it wasn’t the top earner at the box office. Milo Yiannopoulos getting banned from Twitter and it’s relation to Ghostbusters has been front page news on all the top news websites. I wouldn’t be surprised if the movie does better this weekend. Then again, the new Star Trek movie comes out this weekend and unlike Ghostbusters, it looks pretty damn good.