Twitter bans Milo Yiannopoulos after abuse prompts Leslie Jones’ exit

Twitter on Tuesday banned conservative writer and self-described provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos from its site, a day after he was accused of leading an online hate campaign against actress Leslie Jones — who on Monday night tweeted that she was leaving the service.

Jones, an African-American actress who co-stars in the new “Ghostbusters” movie, was subjected to sexist and racist remarks on Twitter that were supposedly partly provoked by Yiannopoulos, the Breitbart tech editor who’s been known to direct his more than 300,000 followers to spew hate at his targets.

Twitter, which has struggled to deal with the inevitable ugliness, bigotry and threats that can stink up social-network joints, said in a statement to SiliconBeat that “our rules prohibit inciting or engaging in the targeted abuse or harassment of others.”

Yiannopoulos denies that he incited the barrage of hateful tweets directed at Jones, and said Twitter is targeting him because he’s a gay conservative.

“Gays are always canaries in the coal mine,” he told CNNMoney. “This has given them the excuse they needed because [Jones] is a black woman. Twitter has just died as a free speech platform.”

Now that Twitter has suspended Yiannopoulos, his tweets are no longer accessible. But they live on in many a news story, and include such gems as: “Is it any wonder successful gay men hate feminists, when women, in tax terms as elsewhere, are so … well, parasitical?” He has also compared rape culture to “Harry Potter,” calling them both “fantasy.”

Yiannopoulous hit his stride on Twitter when he took sides during Gamergate, which starting in 2014 pitted male gamers against critics of gaming’s culture, which can be sexist. Whose side did he take? Well, he once told Fusion:

Women’s rights is one of the great successes of our society. But it seemed like we were taking a retrograde step. We were going backwards. We were giving people like feminists podiums to bully people. A lot of what I have done since is purposely ridiculing that, getting under the skin of people I have decided are bigots.

Twitter revoked Yiannopoulos’ verified status in January, and was warned that if he continued to violate the company’s terms of service, he could be kicked off Twitter. He said at the time that “ridicule and criticism are being re-branded abuse and harassment.”

Breitbart shows a copy of the email Twitter sent to Yiannopoulos that permanently bans him from the site. It also states: “Given that you have previously received repeated warnings for similar violations, your account will not be restored.” The headline on the Breitbart article about the suspension: “Milo Suspended Permanently by Twitter Minutes Before ‘Gays For Trump’ Party At RNC.”

What’s next for Twitter, which is sure to encounter similar issues in the future? Here’s more from its statement:

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.


Photo: The Twitter building on Dec. 14, 2015, in San Francisco, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)


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  • RunForItOrNot

    Yawn, this is a PR move by Twitter. I wonder if they do the same thing for those inciting violence i.e. ISIS, violence against minorities, cops, gays, Democrats, Republicans, etc. If they do, they certainly don’t make as big a deal of it as this case. Not as much positive PR is suppose. I imagine being in the public eye and on social media you would have to have thick skin, people are pretty brave behind a phone or computer screen.

    • Left Unsaid

      Isis was suspended from Twitter not banned. I guess beheadings aren’t as offensive as poking fun at a Hollywood movie.

  • telleroftruth

    Of course you have to know Milo is openingly gay. The reality is that he is gay and conservative. They surely would not remove his account for being gay so it must be that he is conservative. Twitter’s message is that if you want to bash cops, the Trumps, or any other conservative then that is ok. But not the other way around.

  • Left Unsaid

    Leslie’s extensive history of anti-white posts caused no such kerfluffle. #DoubleStandard #FailBusters #ManufacturedOutrage

  • MX

    Leslie Jones is funny af. I didn’t even think anyone still used Twitter. Learn to stfu, yr comments aren’t even necessary.

    Also how is it that any disqus user who posts provocative or controversial comments has their activity on private? Like I’m going to deal with it. You know who are.

  • Take it as a badge of PRIDE Milo.

    Being banned for speaking out is an honor.

  • also

    Gimme a break. Compare this abuse to the vitriole tossed at Trump. Not even close.
    Twitter, like facebook, lives in their Leftist bubble, and free speech is just a relative concept for them.

  • timetojam

    Don’t they have a ‘block user’ feature on twitter? Hire an assistant and have them block the offensive users/messages