Controversial conservative pundit Milo Yiannopoulos has been permanently suspended from Twitter following the racist trolling of actress, Leslie Jones.
The Ghostbusters actress was left “with tears and a very sad heart” on Tuesday evening after a day of abuse instigated by the Breitbart Tech editor, who tweeted under the @nero Twitter handle.
The incident began after Yiannopoulos penned a review of Ghostbusters in which he criticised Jones’s “flat-as-a-pancake black stylings” and described her as “a black character worthy of a minstrel show”.
After the review, a handful of his 380,000+ followers on Twitter began trolling Jones with racist abuse, some of which she retweeted to highlight what was being thrown at her.
Yiannopoulos retweeted fake tweets purporting to be from the actress herself.
Eventually Jones appealed directly to Twitter for help.
Twitter responded by permanently suspending Yiannopoulos’s account.
In a statement the company said:
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, a Brit, has long courted controversy as a figurehead of the US alt-right movement back in 2014.
He has been temporarily suspended from the social media site a number of times.
He responded to the ban on Breitbart.
“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.”
On Wednesday morning #FreeMilo was trending as supporters accused Twitter of censorship and “selectively” applying rules.