A British journalist has been permanently banned from Twitter after instigating abuse aimed at Ghostbusters actor, Leslie Jones.
Milo Yiannopoulos, who tweeted using the handle @Nero, was removed from the social media site after encouraging his followers to tweet racist and anti-feminist abuse at the actor.
In a statement released to BuzzFeed, a representative from Twitter 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.”
Jones, who plays Patty Tolan in the all-female Ghostbusters reboot, spoke out against the barrage of abuse she had received on Monday. Comments directed at the 48-year-old actor included comparisons of the star to a gorilla as well as an insinuation that she was responsible for the outbreak of Aids.
The actor retweeted a number of the hurtful comments and spoke out against the trolls, saying, "You have to hate yourself to put out that type of hate. I mean on my worst day I can’t think of this type of hate to put out."
She also revealed how hurt she was by the abuse, adding that she felt "numb" and could understand why some celebrities chose to avoid Twitter altogether.
She called on Twitter to take action against the trolls, leading to the ultimate suspension of Yiannopoulos last night.
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— Leslie Jones 🦋 (@Lesdoggg) July 19, 2016
Yiannopoulos, a rightwing journalist who is currently the tech editor at Breitbert.com, was one of Twitter's most controversial users. He had previously referred to Donald Trump as "daddy" and compared rape culture to Harry Potter, describing them both as "fantasy". Despite being temporarily suspended from the social media site a number of times before and stripped of his "verification" tick, he had over 388,000 followers.
In a published review of the new Ghostbusters film he described Jones' character as "a two dimensional racist stereotype by even the most forgiving measure", "spectacularly unappealing" and "a black character worthy of a minstrel show".
He has shown no remorse for his role in inciting the abuse aimed at Jones on Twitter, telling HeatStreet that "of course" he had no regrets. "But feminists, on the other hand, should have regrets that they have taught strong women that they are victims and attacked people for having different opinions to them on Twitter," he said.
Twitter will now be reviewing their "hateful conduct policy" to help reduce the trolling that takes place on their site, such as the rape threats that were recently sent to Jess Phillips MP.
“We know many people believe we have not done enough to curb this type of behavior on Twitter," a representative said. "We agree."