Why is internet HATE so easy? A Look into the Most Recent online Assault of Leslie Jones and Online Hate
Leslie Jones has been at the receiving end of extreme racism, sexism, and hate more than a few times over the past months. But this morning truly takes the cake. Her website, justleslie.com, was hacked, by dangerous and disgusting internet users. This was no basic gmail/Facebook hack to blast out a fake ad for Oakley’s being sold for $24.99, this was a hack exposing not only photos from her personal iCloud account (which is enough to be infuriated about), but her personal phone number, twitter password AND images of her drivers license and passport information. In addition a video of the gorilla Hambre was posted, who racist internet trolls had been comparing with Jones prior to the release of Ghostbusters. This. Is. Unacceptable.
I HATE that through this post I am acknowledging this loser hacker and these loser trolls even exist, but this is an extremely important topic, that often people take lightly because it has no real affect on them. It is easy to hate, it is easy to complain online about displeasure with something. Because sitting here behind my screen I feel secure that my identity is still mine, and that whatever seemingly anonymous responses I get are all just words, that I am reading on this screen, sitting in my office alone, surrounded by walls, completely safe. Sure the words may hurt me when they are negative, but my idea of a ‘few’ negative comments is not even comparable to the tremendous quantity of hate responses on social media directed to, for example, Leslie Jones.
Here is an example of an attack from Milo Yiannopoulos, who I’m not saying was the one who hacked Jones’s online everything, but he has openly attacked her on social media on many accounts. He ‘re-tweeted’ (note the parenthetical marks) a few posts that look to be from Jones’s twitter account. The tweets that Milo is claiming in this screenshot were from Leslie Jones are fake.
You may think to yourself ‘wait though, you just said above that these are all just words, freedom of speech man. What’s the big deal? Get tougher skin if you want to be a celebrity, you are in the spotlight and you need to be able to ignore this kind of thing!’ There is freedom of speech, and there is inciting a hate riot directed towards an individual. The words above are not an example of Milo exhibiting his power of freedom of speech, they are a lie, a complete farce, strategically laid out to provoke action from a group of individuals directed towards Leslie Jones.
Do you know what they call that when you do it in person? Inciting a riot and consequently endangering lives. Do you know what they do to people who incite riots? Arrest them, and toss them in jail. In this case Milo Yiannopoulos, twitter @nero, has been banned from twitter altogether, this is a start I guess. But in light of his banning a new hashtag has popped up, #freemilo. If you don’t feel sick to your stomach and you’re looking for something to ruin your day, go search twitter for that hashtag and spend a little time reading what people are posting that link to the #freemilo. It’s nauseating, I have no other word.
It makes me want to scream and vomit and ask these users if they want their kids/bosses/coworkers/mothers seeing the words they have posted. Here is what was at the top of the page when I went in. I have blacked out all names/users because no matter how much I loathe seeing this, and do not agree or condone this behavior, I also do not wish to see anymore people being attacked online (even if to me they are wrong).
You have probably heard the catchy little rhyme ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but words may never hurt me’ and think it may apply here. You are wrong. This is racism at it’s ugliest, hatred at it’s ugliest, and the posting of personal/private information without their consent (enough information to possible steal Jones’s identity or harass her via phone) is straight up illegal.
It’s very rare that anything posted on social media, written online, or argued out in a comments section, will ever actually pan out in an individual changing their mind. I don’t think that anyone who reads this that supports @nero and the #freemilo hashtag will suddenly be enlightened by what I have said and rethink their entire ideology and perspective on the world. But to the people who DO CARE about this, to the people who know there is something wrong; the time to sit idly by in silence has passed.
In a conversation about this topic I heard someone mention the word ‘terrorism’ in speaking on the attacks directed towards Jones and her personal information. At first I thought it was overkill, dramatic, etc, but I thought about it more and what popped up (when I googled the definition of terrorism) was “the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.” @nero did exactly this, initially using the sway he had over his followers on twitter to motivate them to ‘intimidate’ her into silence. When that initially didn’t work, he faked her tweets to enrage his followers to try to silence her again. When THAT didn’t work, someone hacked her website/twitter/life effectively silencing her immediately. Terrorism is a scary word, but if you can find a better one for this situation I’m all ears.
@Lesdoggg it’s a scary, hurtful time right now, but remember not everyone is crap (although a significant portion of twitter is more than crap). I can’t imagine experiencing the overwhelming hate she’s had to endure and still being able to be such a kick ass positive woman the way she has been. To me, more than anything, this shows to her true character. She is strong, she is a woman, she is NOT anonymous, and she will NOT back down. Time to #forgetmilo and instead #freeleslie, then work on stopping social media from continuing to host these cesspools of hate and ignorance.