Twitter Permanently Suspends Breitbart Editor Milo Yiannopoulos After Leslie Jones Harassment

Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Milo Yiannopoulos

"Anyone who cares about free speech has been sent a clear message: you’re not welcome on Twitter," Yiannopoulos said in a statement.

Twitter has permanently suspended Breitbart tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos for tweets harassing Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones, THR has confirmed.

The conservative journalist was among several Twitter users who directed attacks at Jones in the days following the release of the all-female Ghostbusters remake. In his tweets, which are no long accessible on Twitter because his account has been shut down, he called her work "terrible" and said that she was "barely literate."

While Twitter confirmed that Yiannopoulos has been suspended from the service, the company did not specifically name his tweets against Jones as the reason for the suspension. A Twitter spokesman provided a statement when asked about the suspension that does not refer specifically to Yiannopoulos, but instead notes that it has policies against abuse or harassment and that "over the past 48 hours in particular, we've 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."  

This isn't the first time that Twitter has reacted to Yiannopoulos' inflammatory behavior on the site. The company removed his verified status earlier this year and briefly suspended his account in June for his comments about the attack on the Orlando nightclub. 

While the Ghostbusters remake has been plagued by harassment since its trailer first hit the Internet, the attacks against Jones specifically reached a new level on Monday, prompting director Paul Feig to tweet in support of the Saturday Night Live castmember. The hashtag he used, #LoveForLeslieJ, quickly began trending.

Before announcing that she was leaving Twitter, Jones responded to many of her attackers and also called on Twitter to to help her combat the attacks. Eventually Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted at Jones asking to communicate with her via its private Direct Message service.  

Here is Twitter's full statement: 

People should be able to express diverse opinions and beliefs on Twitter. But no one deserves to be subjected to targeted abuse online, and our rules prohibit inciting or engaging in the targeted abuse or harassment of others. Over the past 48 hours in particular, we’ve 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. 
 
We know many people believe we have not done enough to curb this type of behavior on Twitter. We agree. We are 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. We have been in the process of reviewing our hateful conduct policy to prohibit additional types of abusive behavior and allow more types of reporting, with the goal of reducing the burden on the person being targeted. We’ll provide more details on those changes in the coming weeks.
 
Yiannopoulos sent THR a short but defiant 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. Twitter is holding me responsible for the actions of fans and trolls using the special pretzel logic of the left. Where are the Twitter police when Justin Bieber’s fans cut themselves on his behalf?
 
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. This is the end for Twitter. Anyone who cares about free speech has been sent a clear message: you’re not welcome on Twitter.
comments powered by Disqus