Rolling Stone published an excerpt from Leslie Jones’ new memoir in which the actor opened up about the brutal racism and death threats she received over her involvement in the 2016 “Ghostbusters” reboot. The Sony release, directed by “Bridesmaids” helmer Paul Feig, became the target of racist and misogynistic trolls for featuring a main cast of all women. Jones starred in “Ghostbusters” opposite Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig and Kate McKinnon.
Jones recalled the film’s European press tour, where a journalist said to her: “I don’t like this movie, and you’ve got five minutes to prove to me that it is worth watching.”
“It wasn’t just racism and misogyny, either,” she writes. “A lot of it had to do with the fact that I was playing an MTA worker, as though that was something I should be ashamed of. I’d tried to fight back — I was a comic — I was used to someone heckling me, so for every piece of bullshit on Twitter I had a reply.”
Jones ended up deleting her Twitter account for 24 hours because the online harassment was so bad and because “there had been multiple attempts to hack me.” Jark Dorsey was the CEO of Twitter at the time and sent a tweet to Jones telling her to DM him. She writes that “he was aware that I was being brutally attacked with racial slurs and worse,” so she messaged him, adding: “Jack put people on my account to monitor it because someone is always trying to hack me.”
Later on, Jones remembered breaking down in tears because the bullying got so hostile and turned to death threats. “I can’t believe anyone would do this shit to someone, anyone, for working,” she writes. “This is awful. I am in a movie. Death threats for something as small as that?”
“I was being sent films of being hanged, of white guys jacking off on my picture, saying, ‘You fucking n—–. We going to kill you,’” she continued. “Why are people being so evil to each other? How can you sit and type ‘I want to kill you.’ Who does that?”
Jones also remembered director Jason Reitman saying on a podcast that his 2021 reboot “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” was “trying to go back to the original technique and hand the movie back to the fans.” Jones called this an “unforgivable” comment.
Although Reitman tried to walk it back (he later said, “That came out wrong! I have nothing but admiration for Paul and Leslie and Kate and Melissa and Kristen and the bravery with which they made Ghostbusters 2016. They expanded the universe and made an amazing movie!”), Jones writes, “The damage was done. Bringing up the idea of giving the movie ‘back to the fans’ was a pretty clear shout-out to all those losers who went after us for making an all-female film.”
Elsewhere in the excerpt, Jones said she also had to fight for her worth on set during the making of the “Ghostbusters” reboot.
“It was made clear to me at times during the process that I was lucky to even be on that movie, but honestly, I was thinking, ‘I don’t have to be in this muthafucka,’” she writes. “Especially as I got paid way less than Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig. No knock on them, but my first offer was to do that movie for $67,000. I had to fight to get more (in the end I got $150K), but the message was clear: ‘This is gonna blow you up—after this, you’re made for life,’ all that kind of shit, as though I hadn’t had decades of a successful career already. And in the end, all it made for me was heartache and one big-ass controversy.”
Jones’ memioir, “Leslie F*cking Jones,” is now available for purchase. Head over to Rolling Stones’ website to read the excerpt in its entirety.
From Variety US