Leslie Jones Is Just the Latest Casualty of Twitter Abuse

"Ghostbusters" star Leslie Jones publicly abandoned Twitter, one of several celebrities to do so after becoming the target of sexist and racist abuse on the service.

Jones, who is black, fielded a barrage of Twitter harassment before she gave up, all because, as she put it, "I did a movie." Twitter users hurled racist slurs, compared the comic actress to the gorilla recently killed at the Cincinnati Zoo and sent Jones obscene pictures.

Twitter banned conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, technology editor of the right-wing site Breitbart News, for "participating in or inciting targeted abuse of individuals," according to a Twitter notice emailed to Yiannopoulos and published on Breitbart. Twitter confirmed the authenticity of the notice.

The move represents Twitter's latest attempt to get a handle on its Wild West reputation as a haven for online harassment and abuse while still holding onto its commitment to free speech. It's a tricky balancing act, one that Twitter admits it hasn't gotten right yet.

"We know many people believe we have not done enough to curb this type of behavior on Twitter. We agree," Twitter said in an emailed statement following the Jones incident. "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."

A representative for Jones did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday. Yiannopoulos did not reply to emails seeking comment.

Jones is certainly not the first celebrity to leave Twitter. "Girls" creator Lena Dunham said last fall that she has people manage her Twitter account for her because it was no longer a "safe space," as she told technology journalist Kara Swisher during a podcast. Zelda Williams, the daughter of Robin Williams, left for a brief period in 2014 after users...

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