What’s on October 2021: The new TV, streaming shows, books and podcasts to try
What’s on October 2021: The new TV, streaming shows, books and podcasts to try

Sarah Finnan

The IMAGE Shopping Basket: What’s new to the highstreet shops this week
The IMAGE Shopping Basket: What’s new to the highstreet shops this week

Lauren Heskin

These toys are expected to the big hits for Christmas 2021
These toys are expected to the big hits for Christmas 2021

Sarah Finnan

This Rathmines home is on the market for €1.975 million
This Rathmines home is on the market for €1.975 million

Megan Burns

The luxury advent calendars to buy now (before they sell out!)
The luxury advent calendars to buy now (before they sell out!)

Sarah Finnan

These 5 foods help reduce menopause symptoms, says health expert Dr Zoe Williams
These 5 foods help reduce menopause symptoms, says health expert Dr Zoe Williams

IMAGE

Candlelit concerts, dark magic and ghost tours: haunting things to do in Dublin this mid-term break
Candlelit concerts, dark magic and ghost tours: haunting things to do in Dublin this mid-term...

Sarah Finnan

World Menopause Day: The definitive guide to menopause signs, symptoms and solutions
World Menopause Day: The definitive guide to menopause signs, symptoms and solutions

IMAGE

‘Deconstructing stereotypes’: The cult witch movie you need to watch on Halloween
‘Deconstructing stereotypes’: The cult witch movie you need to watch on Halloween

Jennifer McShane

The quilted jacket is the staple to see you through winter
The quilted jacket is the staple to see you through winter

Holly O'Neill

Image / Editorial

UPDATED: Freedom Of Speech V. Hate Speech: Why Twitter Banning @Nero Is a Positive Step


by Lauren Heskin
20th Jul 2016

HOLLYWOOD, CA - JULY 09: Actress Leslie Jones arrives at the Premiere of Sony Pictures' 'Ghostbusters' at TCL Chinese Theatre on July 9, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

UPDATED: Freedom Of Speech V. Hate Speech: Why Twitter Banning @Nero Is a Positive Step

UPDATE: Since posting this article (and a positive review of the new Ghostbusters movie) we have received hate mail.

People actually took the time to seek us out on our personal accounts and put their nasty little thoughts into messages. Privately, of course, with the foulest of language we will spare you from, and through dummy accounts?- because they have serious balls.

REDACTED 2

There were others as well but we don’t have all day to redact curse words, there’s sh*t to be done.

But the most ironic thing is that the main purpose was, to put it very nicely, to tell us to stop talking. About freedom of speech. And Ghostbusters. This is a remake of a 1980s movie that starred a giant marshmallow as the villain.

And they’re still missing the point. You’re absolutely entitled to feel how you like about Ghostbusters – we saw it, I was a little underwhelmed and Jen really enjoyed it. THAT is freedom of speech, and it also permits these trolls to their heinous, bigoted opinions. But personally attacking an individual, whether physically, verbally or online, is just straight-up bullying, shoddily masked behind ideas of political freedoms twisted to suit their own agenda.

And telling me to ?go live perpetually in your crib you f*cking child? (self-censoring there, they didn’t bleep themselves) because you don’t like what I have to say about free speech? That, my friend, makes you an oxyMORON.

 


Freedom of speech. It’s something we most commonly hear of in American movies and they’re particularly fond of the phrase, given that it’s written into their constitution. It also considered slaves less than human, severely limited the rights of women and continues to raise international eyebrows for its “right to bear arms”, but hey, that’s not the road we’re going down today.

Essentially freedom of speech was designed to protect people from censorship and allow the spread of ideas and opinions without fear of retaliation. It’s one of the founding ideologies of modern democracy, that we can peacefully disagree, debate and learn from one another.

But what happens when that freedom is used to protect hate speech? It’s the’reason the likes of the Westboro Baptist Church can publicly spew homophobic slurs and Donald Trump is the Republican presidential nominee (*shiver*) rather than being held legally accountable for every offensive, untrue thing that has ever fallen out of his mouth. But again, I digress.

Twitter has often piped up with this phrase when accused of allowing users publish 140 characters of rancorous hostility. But it seems, finally, they’ve accepted the difference between free speech and hate speech. Leslie Jones took to Twitter during the week to call out all the racist trolls who have been targeting her new film and more specifically, her personally.

The film, praised by the critics but whose trailer has been the most down-voted video on Youtube thanks to a campaign of ‘bros’ who disliked the idea of?the 80s “classic” being remade with a female lineup. St Vincent put it best:

But the hate, which Jones in particular has faced, has been extremely nasty; sending her vile images, setting up fake accounts of her, and comparing her to Harambe, the gorilla that was recently shot and killed after?a child fell into its enclosure.

Understandably upset by the wave after wave of insults, threats and vitriol, she called on Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, to act on it. And surprisingly, they did. Twitter has banned Milo Yiannopoulos, a right-wing tech writer who has been notoriously controversial on the platform, having been suspended by Twitter on numerous occasions for his extremist tweets and trolling campaigns.

In tweets (that have all now since been removed and/or suspended)?Yiannopoulos called Jones “barely literate” and claimed she was “playing the victim” by retweeting all the abusive tweets directed at her, rather than ignoring them.

As the rallying point for some of the most horrific trolling tirades, Twitter made the call to ban him for life from the platform, releasing a statement that 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 we couldn’t agree more. Bullying and abuse can take many shapes other than physical and can be equally as painful. Jones’ decision to leave the platform only goes to prove the hurt and distress words can inflict.


In response, Yiannopoulos claimed that it’s not his fault that his followers followed his lead and rhetoric and he should not be held accountable. His devotees have said the ban marks the death of free speech, starting a hashtag #FreeMilo.

What needs to be understood is that while abusers may distance themselves from the reality of the situation through their screens and anonymous accounts, it does not reduce the impact they have on the person they’re targeting. It’s about time social media shouldered some of the responsibility for online bullying and a directed hate campaign and continual personal harassment should not fall under the freedom of speech. If they cornered her in the street hurling the abuse they so bravely type on their keyboards, would people continue to claim that it’s acceptable?


It’s a bold step but we reckon Twitter have made a step forward, not backwards.

Also Read

UPDATED: Freedom Of Speech V. Hate Speech: Why Twitter Banning @Nero Is a Positive Step
EDITORIAL
How to limit drips and brush strokes while painting kitchen cabinets

Painting kitchen cabinets can be transformative and can be achieved relatively low-cost, but you need the right equipment, and a lot of...

By Amanda Kavanagh

UPDATED: Freedom Of Speech V. Hate Speech: Why Twitter Banning @Nero Is a Positive Step
premium EDITORIAL
Business Club members get your complimentary tickets to The IMAGE Business Summit 2021

Don’t miss this year’s IMAGE Business Summit, with an expert line-up, skills masterclasses, keynote addresses and more.Back by popular demand,...

By Shayna Sappington

UPDATED: Freedom Of Speech V. Hate Speech: Why Twitter Banning @Nero Is a Positive Step
EDITORIAL
5 houseplants we guarantee you can keep alive

For those who buy houseplants with the best of intentions and end up killing them, here’s a selection you’ll be...

By Hannah Hillyer

UPDATED: Freedom Of Speech V. Hate Speech: Why Twitter Banning @Nero Is a Positive Step
EDITORIAL
8 easy ways to keep your brain healthy that you can do right now

Your brain health is just as important as that of the rest of your body, says psychologist and neuroscientist Dr...

By IMAGE

UPDATED: Freedom Of Speech V. Hate Speech: Why Twitter Banning @Nero Is a Positive Step
EDITORIAL
Mandy Moore climbed an active volcano at dawn… while pumping

Hiking a mountain and breast pumping – now, that’s what we call multitasking at its finest. Mandy Moore enjoyed an...

By Sarah Finnan

UPDATED: Freedom Of Speech V. Hate Speech: Why Twitter Banning @Nero Is a Positive Step
EDITORIAL
Sarah Harding’s heartbroken mum announces the singer’s death aged just 39

Sarah Harding has died at the age of just 39, her heartbroken mother revealed today. The Girls Aloud star had...

By Amanda Cassidy

UPDATED: Freedom Of Speech V. Hate Speech: Why Twitter Banning @Nero Is a Positive Step
EDITORIAL
This spatchcock chicken recipe will make your weekend

This is a great way to get a juicy roast chicken, bursting with flavour.     Bord Bia’s Spatchcock Chicken...

By Meg Walker