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Breitbart editor banned from Twitter over racial abuse

Twitter Inc moves to permanently suspend several accounts for abuse and harassment after Ghostbusters actor Leslie Jones sparks row Photograph: (Getty)

Reuters San Francisco, CA, United States Jul 20, 2016, 10.38 AM (IST)
An editor at the conservative American website, Breitbart has been banned from Twitter following targeted racial slurs that drove "Ghostbusters" star Leslie Jones to abandon the social media platform in disgust.

Twitter Inc said Tuesday it had moved to permanently suspend a number of user accounts for abuse and harassment after Jones drew renewed attention to the issue and announced she would quit the social media site.

"Your account has been permanently suspended for repeated violations of the Twitter rules ... specifically our rules prohibiting or participating in or inciting targeted abuse of individuals," the Twitter notification posted by Breitbart said.

Among those banned Tuesday was Breitbart tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos, who has been a controversial figure on the site and helped lead the abuse against Jones. 

Yiannopoulos, was quoted by Breitbart late Tuesday as calling his suspension "cowardly". 

The suspension came a day after Jones, who is African American, said she was leaving Twitter after being bombarded by Internet trolls likening her to an ape and making other racist insults. 

Jones retweeted and shared several abusive tweets she received Monday before telling her 250,000 followers: "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."

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey responded with a tweet back to Jones saying he was "following" and asking her to contact him directly.Yiannopoulos Twitter account, which had more than 388,000 followers, was blocked sometime later.

Twitter has long come under criticism for not doing enough to police abusive behavior on the often-freewheeling messaging service.

Other celebrities have taken issue with abuse on the site, including writer and actress Lena Dunham, who said in September she had hired someone to tweet on her behalf because it was no longer a "safe space" for her.

Supporters started a #LoveForLeslieJ hashtag, encouraging Jones to "stay strong" and return to Twitter, while celebrities including actors John Boyega and Jada Pinkett Smith publicly offered their support.

"Ghostbusters" director Paul Feig tweeted: "Leslie Jones is one of the greatest people I know. Any personal attacks against her are attacks against us all."

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