Leslie Jones Got a Twitter Troll Suspended After Exposing Abuse: 7 More Stars Who Took a Stand on Social Media

The Ghostbusters actress has left Twitter following the harassment, while highlighted a huge widespread problem

By Corinne Heller Jul 20, 2016 10:25 PMTags
Leslie JonesJeffrey Mayer/Getty Images

Leslie Jones has won the battle but not the war when it comes to cyberbullying.

The Ghostbusters and SNL star and comedienne left Twitter in "tears" with "a very sad heart" this week after exposing horrifyingly nasty and racist tweets she had been sent. Her efforts highlighted the darkest aspect of the Internet and especially social media; The trolls—strangers who spew venom at others, often solely for amusement, while hiding cowardly behind a screen.

While celebs tweeted their support for Jones with #LoveforLeslieJ posts, her ordeal highlighted a widespread problem: Social media companies' limited ability to curb harassment. While the actress did report users to Twitter, more nasty messages from other people continued to pour in. 

The controversy caught the attention of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, who called on Jones to DM him, and a company rep told The New York Times they have "seen an uptick in the number of accounts violating these policies and have taken enforcement actions against these accounts, ranging from warnings that also require the deletion of tweets violating our policies to permanent suspension."

The Twitter rep also said the company is "continuing to invest heavily in improving our tools and enforcement systems to better allow us to identify and take faster action on abuse as it's happening and prevent repeat offenders."

One Twitter troll who harassed Jones and got his account suspended permanently is Milo Yiannopoulos, a technology editor at the conservative news site Breitbart.

Leslie Jones' Horrifying Twitter Experience Needs to Be Talked About

In one of his nasty tweets to Jones, he told her she is "barely literate."

"Twitter is holding me responsible for the actions of fans and trolls using the special pretzel logic of the left," he said in a statement. "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."

See which other celebs have taken a stand against their abusers on social media.

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1. Chrissy Teigen: The supermodel and Lip Sync Battle is known for being outspoken on Twitter and often responds to users, including her haters. And despite being a supermodel, she too has been subject to body shaming.

In 2013, she shared a screenshot of a message from a person who urged her to "keep your clothes on" because she was "not sexy and all" and "[looks] like a vertical Park Bench." 

"Really tired of men being such critical pricks," she wrote. "Seriously. All day I just get jabs about my face and body from men."

"I know it seems so stupid but reading s--t like this all day every day," she continued. "F--k off, already."

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2. Amy Schumer: The outspoken comedienne and Trainwreck actress has also used Twitter to call out her haters and critics who have insulted her looks and lifestyle. In January, she exposed a man who tweeted, "Spent the night with @amyschumer. Certainly not the first guy to write that."

"I get it. Cause I'm a whore? Glad I took a photo with you. Hi to your dad," she wrote back.

In May, she took to Twitter to call out "trolls" who body shamed her online over paparazzi photos showing her in a swimsuit.

"I hope you find some joy in your lives today in a human interaction and not just in writing unkind things to a stranger you've never met who triggers something in your that makes you feel powerless and alone," she wrote. "This is how I look. I feel happy. I think I look strong and healthy and also like Miss Trunchbull from Matilda. Kisses!" 

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3. Tia Mowry: The Sister, SisterThe Game and Tia & Tamera alum also used social media to respond to a person who body shamed her over a photo she posted of herself. She included a screenshot of the person's comment. And she did some quick digging on the person to make her response extra personal.

"I took a look at your profile and I was sad to see that you WORK for YOUNG African American girls aiding in their studies," she said. "I hope this isn't what you would tell your girls? Does your BOSS know that this is how you degrade other WOMAN?"

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4. Kesha: In June, the pop star used Instagram to fire back at a user who body shamed her and also called her a whore.

She posted a pic of herself bending naked in shallow ocean water, saying, "I see that you would very much like me to know that you think I'm ugly, and also a 'whore.' Well, I understand that that is your opinion, but I disagree. I'm not perfect but I'm pretty f--king magical. And also, I am not, in fact, a whore."

"Also bullying someone who has struggled publicly with body issues is pretty mean," she added. "Thank God I'm in a place in my life where I feel empowered to address your nasty comments instead of letting them destroy me. So. On behalf of anyone anywhere who struggles with body image, STOP IT. My body is not your business. In conclusion, kiss my magical imperfect ass!"

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5. J.K. Rowling: The Harry Potter author regularly interacts with both fans and haters on Twitter and doesn't hold back.

In 2014, she angered many by voicing her opposition to making Scotland an independent country ahead of the Scottish independence referendum, citing concerns about the economy and the future of medical research. She had earlier in the year donated £1 million to a pro-U.K. unity campaign.

After a troll slammed her in a particularly nasty tweet, Rowling got personal.

".@sjosiah0 The Internet doesn't just offer opportunities for misogynistic abuse, you know," she tweeted. "Penis enlargers can also be bought discreetly."

She's also shut down the likes of the hate-spewing Westboro Baptist Church, which criticized her support for gay marriage in Ireland, as well as individual trolls, including racist ones, who slammed the decision to cast a black actress as Hermione in the London play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

Blake Shelton Tells Haters to Eat "Camel Balls"
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6. Blake Shelton: He is another celeb who interacts with fans on Twitter, for better or for worse, and isn't afraid to say what he thinks about them. Shelton has even gotten into insult battles with users.

"@blakeshelton I 'used to love you' not so much anymore. I turn off the radio at work when any of ur songs come on. Can't stand u anymore," one person tweeted in June.

"Oh no!!!!" he responded. "Now what will I do?!!! Someone who doesn't know me at all can't stand me!!! How will I live?!!"

"@blakeshelton ahhhhh damn. I hurt your feelings. So sorry!! Not," the person continued. "You have changed and not in a good way. Have a blessed life. Night."

"I'm starting to realize that maybe you're a little slow..?" Shelton said. "I'll help you. If you don't like me then why follow me?"

Shelton recently offered his fans sound advice about how to deal with "haters."

"Remember what I've always told y'all..." he tweeted last week. "Don't take any s--t. Ever."

Miley Cyrus' Naked (and Almost Naked) Pics

Challenging social media: In addition to celebs who have fired back at users, others have shared posts that challenge the networks themselves.

Miley Cyrus had in years past helped promote the "Free the Nipple" campaign, which aims to "decriminalize the female body" and "protest the backwards censorship laws in the U.S.," by...sharing pics of herself freeing her nipples. On Instagram, whose terms of use state that users "may not post violent, nude, partially nude, discriminatory, unlawful, infringing, hateful, pornographic or sexually suggestive photos or other content."

"Guys get to show their t-tties on the beach, why can't we," she said on BBC's Newsbeat in 2013. "I don't understand the double standard of life."

Instagram has deleted many users' naked and other revealing pics and has even suspended accounts over repeated nude posts. Last year, Teigen had a topless photo removed from Instagram.

"The nipple has been temporarily silenced but she will be back, oh yes, she will be back," she tweeted in response.

And speaking of Teigen—she was one of the most vocal stars who stood by Jones, calling on Twitter to work harder to stop abusers.

"I love you, @Twitter. I love you so much. But please get it together. Stand up for your users who deserve better," she tweeted Tuesday. "At the least, delete the account. ANYTHING to show you give a damn would be nice. And please don't come at me with the 'it's social media' 'toughen up' 'block them' bulls--t - especially if you haven't experienced it. Not even talking about random internet trolls (will never go away) - talking about true hate speech. Some incredibly vile stuff out there."

"Maybe I'll quit everything, move up to San Fran and sit at Twitter HQ & do it myself," she added. "But who will be an idiot on Lip Sync Battle if not me. For me, it's more about Twitter at least pretending to care. I know these people will always exist."

Watch: "Ghostbusters" Star Leslie Jones on "Real Designers"
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