Celebrities and fans speak out on social media in support of Leslie Jones after online attack

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Moya Crockett
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Ever since she appeared in the all-female remake of Ghostbusters earlier this summer, American actor and comedian Leslie Jones has faced sickening levels of racist and misogynistic online abuse.

Now, in an entirely dispiriting new turn of events, hackers have published intimate photos and personal information belonging to Jones on the actress’s personal website.

Jones was forced to take down her website on Wednesday, after cyber-attackers splashed her phone number, Twitter password, and personal pictures – including photos stolen from her iCloud account – all over her homepage, the BBC reports.

In an unambiguously racist insult, a video of Harambe – the gorilla shot dead in Cincinnati Zoo earlier this year – was also uploaded to Jones’ website.

The hackers posted copies of Jones’ passport and driving license, as well as private selfies she had taken with friends including Rihanna, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West.

Jones, who found fame on Saturday Night Live, briefly took time out from Twitter in July after she was relentlessly targeted with racist, abusive messages, from tweets comparing her to a gorilla to ones blaming her for Aids.

At the time, she publicly condemned the racism she had been subjected to and reposted many of the abusive messages she received, arguing that her attackers deserved to be publicly shamed. 

“What’s scary about the whole thing is that the insults didn’t hurt me,” Jones said, in a July interview on US talk show Late Night With Seth Meyers. “Unfortunately, I’m used to the insults, but what scared me was the injustice of a gang of people jumping against you for such a sick cause.”

Lena Dunham, Octavia Spencer and Anna Kendrick were among the celebrities speaking out on social media, as well as members of the public appalled at the abuse the actress and comedian has endured. Many of Jones' supporters used the hashtags #LoveForLeslieJ and #StandWithLeslie

Katy Perry, meanwhile, described the attack as an example of misogynoir, a term coined by queer black feminist scholar Moya Bailey in 2010 “to describe the particular brand of hatred directed at black women in American visual and popular culture”.

Misogynoir “exists in direct relation to how society views white women,” writes journalist Lola Okolosie in an Ask a Feminist column for “Where white women are held up as demure, good, beautiful; black women are seen as undignified, disrespectable, ugly.”

Feminists, Okolosie rightly points out, must “be willing to speak out when they see misogynoir rear its ugly head – it is one way of making feminism become truly inclusive.”

At the time of writing, Jones had not yet responded publicly to the most recent attack. 

Image: Getty