Leslie Jones Twitter row: Breitbart editor banned over abuse

Leslie JonesImage copyright
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Leslie Jones said Twitter was not doing enough to address abuse

An editor with the conservative website Breitbart has been banned from Twitter after racist abuse was directed at a star of the new Ghostbusters film.

Leslie Jones quit Twitter this week after the abuse, and said the network was not doing enough to stop it.

She accused Breitbart technology editor Milo Yiannopoulos, known as @nero, of directing the abuse.

Yiannopoulos says his account has now been shut down by Twitter and will not be restored.

A screenshot of a message sent to him by Twitter, and posted by Breitbart, said he had broken its rules “prohibiting participating in or inciting targeted abuse of individuals”.

He had received “repeated warnings” about similar issues in the past, the note said.

Jones is in the remake of the hit 1980s film Ghostbusters, which was released in the UK and the US last week.

The decision to cast all women has been criticised by some Ghostbusters fans.

Jones was sent tweets blaming her for Aids and comparing her to a gorilla. On Monday, the 48-year-old shared some of the offensive messages she had received.

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She later wrote that she was leaving Twitter “with tears and a very sad heart. All this cause I did a movie.”

Yiannopoulos posted two insulting tweets about Jones on Monday. Associated Press and Reuters both reported that he had also orchestrated wider abuse against the actress.

Before leaving, Jones wrote to him to say she had reported him and hoped his account would be locked.

Yiannopoulos had close to 338,000 followers before being banned. Many of the accounts that tweeted racist abuse at Jones have not been suspended.

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Milo Yiannopoulos spoke at a pro-Trump event on Tuesday

“With the cowardly suspension of my account, Twitter has confirmed itself as a safe space for Muslim terrorists and Black Lives Matter extremists, but a no-go zone for conservatives,” Yiannopoulos told Breitbart.

“This is the end for Twitter. Anyone who cares about free speech has been sent a clear message: you’re not welcome on Twitter.”

The website said his suspension came 20 minutes before he was due to speak at a “Gays for Trump” event at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Jones had criticised Twitter for not doing enough to block abuse, a criticism it has repeatedly faced.

After her complaint, Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey messaged her on Tuesday.

In a statement the network said it was “continuing to invest heavily in improving our tools and enforcement systems to prevent this kind of abuse”, adding that it realised there was “a lot of work in front of us before Twitter is where it should be on how we handle these issues”.

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