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Twitter Bans Milo Yiannopoulos for Leading the Abusive Charge Against Leslie Jones: Who Is He?

Milo Yiannopoulos; Leslie Jones
Milo Yiannopoulos; Leslie Jones Getty Images

Adios, troll! Twitter banned Breitbart technology editor Milo Yiannopoulos just 24 hours after he allegedly led a campaign of online abuse against Ghostbusters actress Leslie Jones.

The New York Times reported that Yiannopoulos (@Nero) was barred from the social media service on Tuesday, July 19, “in an attempt to show that it is cracking down on abuse.”

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As previously reported, Jones, 48, exposed several racist and sexist Internet trolls by posting their cruel messages on her Twitter account on Monday, July 18. “I have been called Apes, sent pics of their asses, even got a pic with semen on my face. I’m tryin to figure out what human means,” she told her followers at the time. “I leave Twitter tonight with tears and a very sad heart. All this cause I did a movie. You can hate the movie but the s–t I got today…wrong.”

Hundreds of anonymous Twitter users targeted Jones after reportedly being rallied by Yiannopoulos, who the Times called “one of the most egregious and consistent offenders of [the website’s] terms of service.” The Ghostbusters remake, which was released in theaters July 15, has come under fire on several occasions since it was first revealed that the reboot would feature an all-female cast of Jones, Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig and Kate McKinnon.

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A Twitter spokesperson addressed the abusive messages against the Saturday Night Live cast member in a statement to the NYT: “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.”

The statement continued, “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.”

Yiannopoulos also spoke to The New York Times on Tuesday and claimed, “This is the beginning of the end for Twitter. Some people are going to find this perfectly acceptable. Anyone who believes in free speech or is a conservative certainly will not.”

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Yiannopoulos is a Greek native and self-proclaimed “cultural libertarian” and “free speech fundamentalist.” He rose to fame in 2015 when he covered the Gamergate controversy surrounding sexism in video games. Yiannopoulos started working as a tech editor for Breitbart News, a politically conservative news outlet, in October 2015.

Jones has not returned to Twitter since Monday night’s incident.