Comedian Leslie Jones, who plays Patty Tolan in the all-female Ghostbusters reboot, has spoken out after being victimised by racist abusers on social media.
The shocking campaign of racially charged slurs, many of which Leslie retweeted from her own account, saw the talented comic compared to a gorilla.
She was also, in one particularly vile tweet, blamed for causing the Aids outbreak.
However Leslie, unwilling to silently take the abuse, decided to address her attackers directly.
After retweeting many of the hateful messages into her own newsfeed, Leslie said: “It’s so sad, most of these comments sound like they are from ignorant children,” she said. “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.”
“I don’t know how to feel. I’m numb. Actually numb. I see the words and pics and videos. Videos y’all. Meaning people took time to spew hate,” she continued. “I use to wonder why some celebs don’t have Twitter accts now I know. You can’t be nice and communicate with fans cause people crazy.”
I've never claim to be better or special. I just try to do my job as best as I can. Isn't that any of us yall. So Yea this hurts me!— Leslie Jones 🦋 (@Lesdoggg) July 19, 2016
It's like when you think "ok I've proven I'm worthy" then you get hit with a shovel of hated. I'm numb. I mean I know there is racism.— Leslie Jones 🦋 (@Lesdoggg) July 19, 2016
But I'm I that naive to think that some things was changing yes I was. We still live in a world where we have to say "black lives matter"— Leslie Jones 🦋 (@Lesdoggg) July 19, 2016
I'm so tired of it. Why is this still a fight? I want to hate so bad but I can't because I know it doesn't fix anything and just make me sad— Leslie Jones 🦋 (@Lesdoggg) July 19, 2016
I'm not stupid to not know racism exists. And I know it will probably live on way after me. But we have to make people take responsibility— Leslie Jones 🦋 (@Lesdoggg) July 19, 2016
As the abuse continued, however, Leslie was left heartbroken.
She said: “I feel like I’m in a personal hell. I didn’t do anything to deserve this. It’s just too much.
“It shouldn’t be like this. So hurt right now.”
Leslie later slammed Twitter for refusing to do anything to stop the abuse, and hit back at all those on the social media site who told her to “ignore” the abuse she was receiving.
"Stop letting the ignorant people be the loud ones," she wrote. "We have to make people take responsibility for the hate they spew. We have to stand up to it."
The 48-year-old, who has previously spoken about quitting Twitter, later logged off the social media site in tears.
Her final tweet said: “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 s**t I got today… wrong.”
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
Paul Feig, who directed the new Ghostbusters movie, encouraged people to tweet their support for the comedian under the hashtag #LoveForLeslieJ.
He wrote firmly: “Leslie Jones is one of the greatest people I know. Any personal attacks against her are attacks against us all.”
The hashtag soon began trending on social media, with many sending messages of love and respect to the Saturday Night Live star.
Others, including Frozen's Josh Gad, spoke out against her abusers, labeling them as nothing more than "cowards and bullies".
They then went on to praise Leslie for having the courage to speak out and refusing to “let the trolls win”.
Leslie, alongside her co-stars, Kristin Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, and Kate McKinnon, has been subjected to misogynistic abuse for months after it was revealed that the reboot would feature an all-female cast.
Speaking at a press junket, Leslie explained that she found greater inner strength from reading the vitriolic messages that she and her fellow stars had received.
She said: “I read everything. This kind of thing makes you a warrior and I am going to fight that (sexism) and I am going to win. It gives me fuel, I love it. Please tell me that I am not good, so that I can show you that I am!”
However Melissa, who plays Abby Yates in the movie, said that she felt differently, adding that she could not bring herself to read the hateful comments.
She explained: “I read one thing that made me burst out and cry because it attacked me, and it said something so awful against my children I thought, ‘No good comes from reading this stuff’.
“It’s not like I can improve myself from it. I can’t become a better person or a better actor or a better mother, nothing. If somebody has a good point, I am the first to be like, ‘Let me have it’. If someone just wants to spew hate, tear down women, I prefer to keep that out of my life.”
The film’s trailer is now one of the most disliked videos on YouTube, with almost a million thumbs-down votes.
Despite this, the Ghostbusters reboot – which picks up 32 years after the original - has gone on to impress critics and fans alike at the cinema.
And Violet Ramis Stiel, the daughter of the late Harold Ramis (who starred in and wrote the original Ghostbusters movie), recently praised the all-female cast for providing a new generation the chance to engage with the story.
"Let's give my nine-year-old daughter a chance to put on a proton pack and feel like a badass," she wrote in an article for Splitsider.
"In the spirit of my dad and his love for movies and comedy above all, I'll be there for Ghostbusters 2016 opening weekend with my kids, eating popcorn, wearing my Egon Spengler tribute pin, cheering on the new crew, and laughing loudly, from the heart."
Images: Rex Features, Sony Pictures