It was two weeks and a day ago that I was raving about how hilarious Leslie Jones’ Olympics tweets were. She’d just been invited to Rio by NBC to help commentate and meet the athletes she’d been diehard supporting online. She was thrilled and we were all thrilled for her. And now tonight I see the news that her personal website has been hacked; her personal information, naked photos, and an image of the gorilla Harambe posted in place of the content she’d had up.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”
That A Tale of Two Cities quote is tired. It was written in 1859 and has been referenced back to thousands of times since then. It’s washed up. But it still accurately describes the internet right now.
I can connect face-to-face with anyone in the world with an internet connection. I can learn anything. I can have English roughly translated into hundreds of other languages quickly and easily, opening up communication with almost anyone. I’ve become YouTube friends with people around the country and the world. When tragedy strikes in one part of the world, we know almost instantaneously and can immediately donate and offer support. The power of human connectivity is almost unlimited online.
And yet women like Leslie Jones — who are strong, hilarious, adding joy and laughter and positivity and strength and intelligence to the public discourse — are publicly attacked and disparaged in the most sickening ways through the internet.
I’m so sad about the latest and most disgusting attack on Leslie Jones. I say the latest because we shouldn’t forget the trolls who pushed her to quit Twitter due to harassment for awhile earlier this summer:
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 Jones (@Lesdoggg) July 19, 2016
She rebounded bigger and better than ever with her Rio Olympics social. And now this.
I feel helpless to do anything meaningful to support her, so at this moment all I can do is hope and pray that Leslie is surrounded by people who love her tonight. If I were her, even knowing it’s not my fault and that actions like this say so much about the perpetrators and nothing about the victims and that no one worth caring about is going to look at the stuff that was posted, I would still feel at my absolute lowest tonight. Please let her feel fully the unconditional support that so many of us are sending her way tonight.
It’s times like this that I want to say that the internet is the worst, but that would be an untrue oversimplification because I’ve also seen the internet at its best. Instead the internet seems to just be a receptacle for the best and worst in people. So really, what the fuck is wrong with some people?