#LoveforLeslieJ Indeed Or Twitter: The Place for Bullies

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You probably know I’m a fan of Twitter. And that I’m a fan of comedy in many forms. So what comedian Leslie Jones is experiencing just makes me…sad.

In case you didn’t know, “people” are up in arms about the “Ghostbusters” reboot with a (GASP) all-female cast. And by people I mean boys who think women are taking away all the good toys, like voting, and leaving the house without an escort. And comedy.

To pile on, apparently there is a faction targeting Leslie not only because she’s funny, not only because she’s a woman, but also because of her race. And their tweets are vile. VILE. From any point of view. The things that people are saying to someone who should be basking in the realization of her lifelong dream are simply stomach-churning.

What I don’t understand is how people think it’s OK to talk to someone like that. And even worse, Twitter apparently refuses to do anything about it.

Oh I know where you’re going. I can see it from a mile away.

“Free speech!” and “The First Amendment!”

Well…no.

Despite the common misconception that freedom of speech means you can say anything you want at any time without consequence, that’s not true. All the First Amendment does is protect us from government interference with our speech. And even that can be limited, if the state’s reason is compelling enough and the restriction is narrowly tailored to prevent infringement that goes further than necessary.

Like the old standby, yelling “fire” in a crowded theater. First Amendment or no First Amendment, the government can prosecute you.

But Twitter is not the government. Twitter is a corporation that can manage its user agreement as it sees fit within the law. So why doesn’t it ban users, like so many other sites, for abusive behavior?

There is no question that the barrage of tweets sent in Leslie’s direction are abusive. Why would Twitter want to be the best bullying platform on the planet?

Twitter mobs come and go. But lynch mobs — and that’s what these tweets sound like — shouldn’t have a platform anywhere.

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