Troll busted: Twitter bans Milo over abuse of Ghostbusters star

20 Jul 2016

Twitter ain’t afraid of no trolls – as Milo Yiannopoulos, or @Nero, has just found out

Brietbart tech editor and conservative rabble-rouser Milo Yiannopoulos has been permanently banned from Twitter for his role in allegedly inciting an harassment campaign against Ghostbusters actor Leslie Jones.

One individual who won’t be applying for verified status with Twitter will be outspoken tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos from conservative news site Breitbart, best known by his Twitter handle @Nero.

Twitter has banned @Nero for allegedly inciting a campaign of prolonged abuse against actor Leslie Jones, who has borne the brunt of online abuse relating to the release of the Ghostbusters movie.

‘I leave Twitter tonight with tears and a very sad heart’

Future Human

Hundreds of anonymous Twitter commentators are understood to have hurled racist and sexist remarks at the star.

Yiannapoulos is understood to have incited his followers to bombard the Ghostbusters start with racist and demeaning remarks.

From @Nero to zero

A voice of the “Alt-Right” movement, Yiannopoulos is seen as a provocateur on a variety of issues and has legions of followers – as many as 388,000.

The media picked up on the online abuse being hurled at Jones after she began retweeting screenshots of the litany of comments.

On Monday, she quit Twitter with a final message: “I leave Twitter tonight with tears and a very sad heart.”

At a time when the world is once again being rent by racism, Twitter has decided that it will not allow its medium to be used and abused by divisive figures like Yiannopoulos.

“People should be able to express diverse opinions and beliefs on Twitter,” the social media player said.

“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.”

The social media service said that it has seen an increase in the number of accounts violating its policies and is taking action.

Over a year ago, Twitter said it was stepping up its actions against trolling and bullying on its service after the GamerGate saga, which saw vitriol and threats of violence hurled at figures like Anita Sarkeesian and Brianna Wu when they voiced their opinion on the way women are portrayed in games.

Banning divisive, high-profile figures may be just the start of Twitter’s onslaught against the trolls, but it is terrible that talented individuals like Leslie Jones – or any individual for that matter – should experience such abuse without the tools to fight back or at least defend themselves.

Ghostbuster image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years