The important reason why thousands of Twitter users are tweeting #LoveforLeslieJ

Last night, comedian/writer/actress/all-around awesome person Leslie Jones sent out this heartbreaking tweet:

The cause of her pain? A truly vicious barrage of hate from random people on Twitter that began as rude comments about her starring role in the new Ghostbusters movie and turned into scary, disturbing personal attacks.

Most of the attacks were racist and misogynist, and the negativity was so incessant that Leslie reached her (very understandable) breaking point and signed off with the following message:

What Leslie went through is so infuriating and so wrong, and we need to do everything we can to combat the abuse women get on Twitter (especially women of color), but like so many heartbreaking stories these days, there’s a silver lining here, and it came in the form of a hashtag called #LoveforLeslieJ.

When Leslie started retweeting the hate she was getting and people saw what she was going through, they wanted to help. Twitter user T’Challa Back Girl started the hashtag #LoveforLeslieJ to show love, support, and encouragement, and it didn’t take long for her idea to gain traction. Hundreds of thousands of messages poured in from Leslie’s fans and her famous friends and colleagues, including Ghostbusters director Paul Feig, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Anna Kendrick.

We’re really hoping to see Twitter make some changes to keep their users safe from this kind of horrific abuse, but in the meantime we’ll be hashtagging #LoveforLeslieJ and keeping the love going.

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