Talks about a possible remake of the 1984 classic were swirling around for some time. The original movie, starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, and Harold Ramis (RIP), was an instant classic, eventually being made into a sequel five years later. I’m like many movie buffs in that I believe that some classic films do not need to be revived in order to make it seem more appealing to the new generation. When I heard that there would be a possible remake of the best movie ever made in my opinion, The Godfather, I was an inch away from losing all my sanity (or whatever I had left of it). However, I love movies; therefore, I am more open-minded in giving remakes a chance; leaving my bias at the theater door. Unfortunately, not everyone shares my impartiality. The remake triggered outrage among fans of the originals due to the fact that the movie would cast female leads instead of men. Seriously? What year is it, again? 1940? The film starred Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate Mckinnon, and Leslie Jones, and once the official trailer was launched on YouTube, it quickly became the most disliked video in YouTube history. Wow! Really?
As the release of the movie started to near, the disdain many hardcore fans of the original had for the movie was not the worst part. It was the singling out of the SNL contender, Leslie Jones, on Twitter. Anyone who has twitter know that there are always trolls lurking in the corners, waiting to spring into action whenever they have nothing better to do or nothing good to say. That is pretty much all the time. Nonetheless, the average trolling became abusive speech. Jones became the target of racially charged slurs. Users were comparing her to apes, tweeting videos of people yelling rape appellations, as well as tweeting pictures of her face covered with semen. It is sickening. Who are these creatures? Back to the depths of underworld you go.
One of the main culprits was British columnist, Milo Yiannopoulos, who was permanently barred after repeated violations and ultimately exacerbating the abuse of the actress. I know what many people will argue—Freedom of Speech. Oh, yes, that good ol’ First Amendment right. However, freedom of speech does not give freedom of consequence. Sure, people will always have their diverse opinions, but no one should be subjected to online abuse and cyber bullying. Jones stated, “It is so sad. Most of those comments sound like they are from ignorant children.” Indeed, they do. The entire ordeal was described as her own “personal hell”, leaving her to consider quitting Twitter all together. Tired of all the racist and sexist abuse being thrown at the loving comedian, many fans have rallied to support her with the creating of the hastag, #LoveForLeslieJ. Even the producer of the remake—and original Ghostbuster—Dan Ackroyd came to Leslie’s defense, praising her for her work in the new film and calling all those notorious Twitter trolls, “Insignificant gnats”.
A spokesperson for Twitter made a statement that, “this type of abusive behavior is not permitted on Twitter, and we’ve taken action on many of the accounts reported to us by both Leslie and others.” And it should be. Twitter has promised to act more swiftly and efficiently against online abuse. Steps were in motion for this for the past five years; many people lobbying to support victims of anti-Muslim and hate speech. Now, Twitter hopes to make reporting any type of racist, sexist, or homophobic abuse as easy as a simple click of a button. Hopefully, Twitter’s new facility will allow users to report multiple tweets; muting or blocking others.
I know many are saying that maybe Leslie Jones should get thicker skin; the whole “Sticks and Stones” bit. That’s all well and good. My problem with that is the constant trying to alter the victim’s reaction to the problem rather than going after the ones doing the victimizing. No one should have to endure that type of unnecessary harassment and abuse. As I scrolled through my timeline, one of my Facebook friends, Lex, really put the entire situation in perspective. He said,
“The biggest shame about Leslie Jones being in the news, is that she is getting known for being victimized by all these bullying expletive on the internet that just want to hurt someone, instead of the news of her bring a expletive breakout star and one of the funniest people on SNL, in Ghostbusters, and the world.”
Truer words have never been spoken. It is a shame that this very talented and beautiful women couldn’t even enjoy the fruits of her labor by being one of the stars of a Blockbuster movie without someone trying to rain on her parade. Why did these ignorant Twitter twats decide to only single Leslie out? Do racist, sexist, ignorant pigs really need a reason for why they do what they do? After the dust settled and all the trolls were barred to underneath their draw bridges, Leslie decided to rejoin all her fans back on Twitter. YES! Who else will I go to for live tweets of Game of Thrones? This woman is hilarious! I’ve known this since seeing her on BET’s, Comic View, back in the day. There is no denying her comedic talent, her friendly presence, and for her being a force to be reckoned with. This is a life lesson that you should never allow someone to take your joy from you. Misery loves company and I like to eat my food alone. Haters are going to hate. Let them hate, Leslie, while you laugh all the way to the bank.