Whether the target in question is a celebrity or not, harassing someone in any capacity is never OK. Unfortunately, there are some individuals who just haven't got that memo yet, like when many decided to log onto Twitter and harass comedian Leslie Jones with some extremely horrific, abusive, and racists comments. The Ghostbusters actor defended herself against the trolls, but it still took a lot of work to get Twitter to do something about it. But after all that, Leslie Jones defined hate speech in a pretty irrefutable way during an appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers Thursday, where she addressed the freedom of speech mentality that made it hard for Twitter to act immediately regarding her harassers.
The Saturday Night Live star noted how some Twitter users felt like she was silencing their freedom of speech by trying to get them suspended from the social media network and also by calling them out. Well, she has some news for those particular people. Her words couldn't be more true, so listen up. "Hate speech and freedom of speech: two different things," she told Meyers. Preach, Jones. Preach.
The freedom of speech act (which is protected under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution) itself is something that many people take advantage of. Yes, it gives us the right to express our opinions and thoughts without censorship or restraint, but when words actually attack somebody else in a harmful and hurtful manner, it's hard to see that as anything but an abuse of that freedom of speech privilege.
Unlike the definition of freedom of speech, hate speech is defined by someone using speech that offend, threaten, or insult anyone based on their race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender, or any other trait that is attacked through words. Technically hate speech is protected under the First Amendment (though "fighting words," or words said face-to-face in hopes of instigating a fight) are not. But, if you ask me, hate speech and fighting words belong in the same category, outside of the freedom of speech rule.
The spread of hate in any form shouldn't be tolerated or accepted. Actually, Jones commented on just that in a series of tweets the same day she received so much hate. She tweeted, "Twitter, I understand you got free speech. I get it. But there has to be some guidelines when you let [hate] spread like that. You can see on the profiles that some of these people are crazy sick. It’s not enough to freeze [an] acct. They should be reported."
Thankfully, the comedian didn't let the hate speech keep her away from Twitter for good. Remember how Jones tweeted this? "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 shit I got today...wrong." As she told Meyers, this wasn't about her leaving Twitter for good, but her way of taking a short break after dealing with all of the hate thrown her way.
On Friday, she shared her first tweet since the series of unfortunate events. In typical Jones fashion, she let her hilarious sense of humor shine by tweeting, "Welp...a b*tch thought she could stay away. But who else is gonna live tweet Game of Thrones!"
It's good to have you back, Leslie.