The backlash against the new Ghostbusters movie took an inevitably bad turn yesterday as Leslie Jones, the comedienne that plays Patty Tolan in the new movie, was blasted with all manner of racial hatred on Twitter for her role in the movie, which unfortunately achieved its desired result in upsetting her greatly, enough that she took to Twitter to respond to the vile, subhuman comments being tossed in her direction:
This was after several hours of Jones angrily responding to a barrage of hate and racism on her Twitter feed. I'm not going to post any shots of it because I won't give those pricks or their accounts the time of day, but they threw everything from gorilla images and coon insults to outright calling her a nigger several times. Then they took it further by photoshopping a fake tweet of her account tossing out gay slurs so as to justify their racial attacks in some twisted, horrifically despicable way.
Look, we all know the state of race relations in this country is more than shaky right now with everything that has happened between the police shootings and the vilification of the Black Lives Matter movement, but this unfortunate incident is highlighting yet another problem that we really haven't paid much attention to: racist, misogynistic, bigoted geeks.
Some years ago, I did a short documentary with a friend of mine for film school about pop culture vs. geek culture as it relates to women. It was inspired by me seeing this meme on the internet one day:
Over the course of shooting the documentary and talking to several women from all walks of life including my own girlfriend, I had a cathartic moment where I realized that I as a man, was perpetuating a bad stereotype myself. The whole point of our movie was to ask women if they would rather embrace pop culture or geek culture and which one they would use to raise their daughters on for the future. What I came to discover is that women by and large don't look at it as a zero-sum proposition. They will embrace whatever lifestyle or path their child wants to embrace and not confine themselves to one box or another, which is what I was doing. I was confining them to either pop culture or geek culture and not being as open minded as they were.
I bring this up because apparently, this problem is even bigger than I could have imagined among the geek community. I used to be proud of the meme above in thinking that geeks were above all of the labels placed on women and the misogynistic treatment that they get from the rest of the world on a daily basis. I was dead wrong on that one. Geeks are just as bad, if not worse when it comes to this subject, and this incident with Leslie Jones is the shining example of that.
Of course, it goes well beyond blatant misogyny and goes right into targeted racism with geeks, all over fictional franchises and characters that don't truly exist. I remember the backlash of Michael Clarke Duncan being cast as Kingpin in the Daredevil movie years ago, which came only a few years after Will Smith was cast as Jim West in the Wild Wild West reboot. No social media back then, so one can only imagine how bad the reaction actually was from the bigots.
Social media's presence today obviously makes it worse now as it gives a voice to all of the idiots that don't deserve one, frankly. That's the downside to having such an open and anonymous form of communication to a wide audience, but even so, that's not really the problem is it? Twitter and Facebook's very existence, that is. No, the real problem is the mindset that goes into saying these things in the first place. We know that most of these degenerates don't have the balls to say these things without their computer screen to keep them safe from a punch in the mouth, not that that would solve anything but still, but what possesses them to even think these disgusting things to say in the first place? Why are they racist? Why are they misogynistic? Why do they take these movies and fictional characters so seriously that they would demean and verbally abuse a woman they don't know as a result of it?
I wish I had all of these answers, but I don't, because I'm not a complete degenerate nutbag that says these things to strangers. I will say that I don't blame Leslie Jones one bit for her reaction to the tweets. A few days ago I got into a Twitter argument with people that are convinced that Black Lives Matter is a terrorist organization modeled after the Black Panther terrorist group. Both of those "facts" are complete lies, of course, but good luck telling anyone on the Internet that. No one ever changes their mind, they just dig their heels in and wait for other idiots to come support their dangerously lazy attack, despite being provided plenty of references and information to prove their stupidity incorrect.
After an hour too long of arguing back and forth I finally blocked them, after being called a terrorist and a coward multiple times. This was for saying that I support Black Lives Matter, but do not support murder of any kind or fighting hate with hate. That's literally all I said, that the police murders were horrific and the killers were not representative of the movement. For that, I was branded a terrorist and a coward that sympathized with terrorists. Idiotic......especially since my dad is a retired cop. I couldn't be more pro-police as a black man if I wanted to. I was RAISED by police.
I didn't let my arguments get to the level of Leslie Jones, but I also wasn't being dragged through the mud nearly as much as she was and under no circumstances did she deserve that. And why? For what purpose? Because a bunch of angry, virginal, stereotypical subhuman dogs that want to give me and other geeks like me a bad name, are mad that it's Leslie Jones instead of Ernie Hudson? This is the same scum that can only refer to Melissa McCarthy by her size and hates the idea of women doing anything other than being damsels in distress, and god forbid they be black either. That's just something that would have Jim Crow rolling over in his grave, I guess......if only he were truly dead.
Incidents like these and the lack of appropriate response or outcry to them are why this type of behavior will continue to happen and instead of geeks being able to transcend it, we are neck deep in it. This is our battleground, our place in history where we sit on this turbulent issue. We can't ignore it. I've spent the last week or so watching people tell me that Sony was just using the "feminist" angle to drum up ticket sales and smear people who had "legitimate" reasons for hating a movie they had never seen. Sexism and misogyny are not the issue, I was told.
Tell Leslie Jones that. I dare you. To her face, not behind your spit soaked, burnt out computer screen. Tell her there are no misogynists that hate the fact that she is a Ghostbuster because she should be at best, the secretary at the desk getting hit on. Tell her that there are no racists that think she shouldn't even have a starring role in the movie because clearly the other three white women are vastly superior to her. Lastly, tell her that it's only a few ignorable idiots that think this way, not a large section of the population that may or may not want to make America "great again." Please tell her all of this and that she has nothing to worry about.
I'm sorry Leslie for what you experienced yesterday. As a man and a geek, there is no excuse for it and it has to stop. Now.