July 20, 2016 at 1:23 pm EDT | by Mariah Cooper
Twitter bans Milo Yiannopoulos for ‘targeted abuse’ on Leslie Jones
Milo Yiannopoulos

Milo Yiannopoulos

Milo Yiannopoulos, tech editor for conservative website Breitbart.com, has been banned from Twitter after sending abusive tweets about “Ghostbusters” star Leslie Jones.

Yiannopoulos, who recently appeared as a speaker for a Gays for Trump party, criticized Jones’s role in the film as “spectacularly unappealing,” “flat-as-a-pancake black styling” and called her “barely literate.” When Jones tweeted she was receiving hurtful tweets he responded “If at first you don’t succeed (because your work is terrible), play the victim. EVERYONE GETS HATE MAIL FFS.”

Jones received racist tweets from other users calling her names such as “ape,” “savage” and “big lipped tycoon.” The horrific racist tweets, and a doctored tweet from the actress about Yiannopoulos spreading on Twitter, forced Jones to abandon the social media platform.

Twitter took action and permanently banned Yiannopoulos’s account @nero for “targeted abuse online.” Yiannopoulos’s account had been suspended last year for claiming on his account that he was BuzzFeed’s “social justice editor,” which led to Twitter’s decision to give his account a permanent ban.

After his account was suspended, Yiannopoulos’s supporters created the hashtag #FreeMilo which became the number one trending topic on Tuesday night.

“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 said in a statement to Breitbart. 

“Like all acts of the totalitarian regressive left, this will blow up in their faces, netting me more adoring fans. We’re winning the culture war, and Twitter just shot themselves in the foot,” Yiannopoulos continued. “This is the end for Twitter. Anyone who cares about free speech has been sent a clear message: you’re not welcome on Twitter.”

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Yiannopoulos says that it is “ridiculous” for his comments about Jones to qualify as harassment. He went on to say he is not responsible for the other Twitter users who tweeted racist messages to Jones.

Yiannopoulos told the Los Angeles Times he isn’t upset about the ban, but considers himself “a free speech martyr.”




1 Comment
  • A quote from Milo Yiannopoulos regarding hate speech laws…

    It’s clear that existing hate speech laws are inadequate for the social media era. And if we decide, as we perhaps might, that a lifetime ban on the internet is unworkable and disproportionately punitive, given the centrality of the internet to our professional and personal lives these days, what on earth are we to do? No one has yet offered a convincing answer. In the meantime, we are all, bit by bit, growing ever more fearful of the next wave of molestation.

    Together with other commentators, I have in the past argued for verified identities on social networks, so those responsible for abuse and persecution of public figures and the vulnerable might be held accountable for their actions. That seems redundant when trolls are now so brazen they don’t care about disapproving words from their loved ones back inside Facebook when they leave furious missives using that social network’s commenting system elsewhere on the internet.

    So perhaps what’s needed now is a bolder form of censure after all, because the internet is not a universal human right. If people cannot be trusted to treat one another with respect, dignity and consideration, perhaps they deserve to have their online freedoms curtailed. For sure, the best we could ever hope for is a smattering of unpopular show trials. But if the internet, ubiquitous as it now is, proves too dangerous in the hands of the psychologically fragile, perhaps access to it ought to be restricted. We ban drunks from driving because they’re a danger to others. Isn’t it time we did the same to trolls?

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