I have to start with a declaration or two. I don’t think the first Ghostbusters film is a great film. It’s a good one but it isn’t something that defined my childhood. I just found it a bit meh overall and as for the second one, it’s just rubbish and a waste of talented people’s time. I also haven’t seen the new film directed by Paul Feig due to mainly being a tad unwell not to mention I just can’t be arsed. So I can’t compare the films nor can I say if the 2016 film is good or bad. Most of the people I know are split with some saying they loved it and some saying they hated it. To me, it just looks like an average Hollywood summer blockbuster but I’ll probably not see the film til it shows up on a Sunday night on Channel 5 in 2019.
So this is about the shitstorm that’s surrounded Ghostbusters since it was announced with an all-female main cast and has now developed into one of the cast, Leslie Jones, being racially abused on a ridiculous scale on Twitter. Before anyone says like a prick ‘ah, but we all take abuse on Twitter, deal with it’, this is the level of abuse Jones was taking. I’m a white male, I take the odd bit of abuse (including the odd death threat) from mainly far-right UKIP types but I’m in the privileged position of being able to deal with it. if I was black and/or a woman I’d be constantly targeted as some friends are just for being female or not white.
Add into this professional arsehole Milo Yiannopoulos who has been suspended by Twitter for it seems blowing the dogwhistle that unleashed hell upon Jones to such an extent where rather than just do normal people stuff online, or even just enjoy the feedback of those people who liked the film instead has to deal with people calling her a gorilla because they’re racist cunts.
But yet people leap to the defence not of Jones, but of Yiannopoulos because he’s not the victim, not the woman racially abused but the guy sitting in the centre of it smirking and laughing while playing the martyr. ”It’s an act of censorship’ some cry but it isn’t. Yiannopoulos has been banned by a private company for continued abuse of its terms because this isn’t the first time he’s been a problem to mainly women on Twitter. Yet we live in a time where rather than Yiannopoulos being condemned by all he’s defended and his words are dismissed as not really abuse, or they’re given an intellectual weight they don’t actually contain. We live in strange and often terrible times where people like Yiannopoulos are excused, local politicians threats of murder as dismissed as a joke, bumbling, racist idiots are promoted to high positions of state and a racist psychopath stands one vote away from the Whitehouse.
People are perfectly entitled to hate the film if they think it’s rubbish. I’ve no problem with that or even people doing so in more robust terms, I’ve done it myself on this blog and will continue to do so. What people aren’t entitled to do is abuse people like Leslie Jones because of her skin colour and sex. That isn’t free speech, it’s racist and sexist abuse which can hurt people as much as physical abuse. There’s also no difference between the person that racially abuse someone online and the person that does so in real life. They’re the same.
Ultimately though Ghostbusters is just a film. If your problem is that the idea of women being stars in a film, or a black actress is part of that team or that what was ‘yours’ was ripped from you and given to a new generation then perhaps have a word with yourself and sort your priorities out.