Before I begin this article I believe it is necessary to first address the elephant in the room: it is not possible to have a civil conversation about the 2016 remake of Ghostbusters. Amidst a sea of foreign military coups, religion-fueled terrorism, rising violent crimes against police, and what may very well be the worst presidential election in the history of the United States… a shitty remake of what is — at best — a decent movie from the eighties just so happens to be one of the hot-button issues of our time. A lightning rod of dangerhair screeching and faux-triggering since day one, the all-female remake was finally released to theaters this past weekend to awkward lukewarm reception. After a marketing blitz defined predominately by ridiculing naysayers and calling them misogynists, Sony’s attempt at a franchise reboot failed to reach #1 on its opening weekend falling behind The Secret Life of Pets, an animated film which had already been in theaters for a week prior.
It goes without saying that Ghostbusters is the train wreck everyone with half a brain expected it would be. Everyone except for its cast, perhaps. Enter actress and self-proclaimed comedian Leslie Jones. Following the lackluster release of her new movie, and after a questionable cameo earlier this week on ABC’s Match Game that required editors to blur out the word “PUSSY” from one of her answer cards, Jones found herself at the receiving end of some bottom-tier trolling thrown her way by random fools on Twitter. Being a professional in her field, Jones did the only rational thing and blocked her detractors before carrying on with the rest of her busy day.
Kidding. She instead chose to reciprocate each and every tweet sent to her with barely coherent word salads.
Let’s be honest here, the people supporting Jones have a fair point in that spewing racist drivel is uncalled for. Of course it is. Racist “humor” is some of the lowest brow content of its kind largely because it’s so easy to produce; I’m sure most of us are treated to it on a regular basis by distant family members whom we only tangentially keep in touch with over Facebook. The racist remarks being thrown at Jones isn’t what’s shocking here, it’s her responses to them that have drawn the attention of the Internet. You see, part of the whole “being a celebrity” thing is the emotional baggage that comes with being in a very visible position. This is why many celebrities employ public relations consultants, so when things like this go down they can defer to the experts for advice on how to handle the situation and move on. Why you’d need to pay someone just to hear them tell you “ignore them, you dumb idiot” is not something I fully understand, but then again I’m also not the one flailing around like a tool on social media right now breaking Internet rule number one: don’t feed the trolls.
Jones claims to be a stand-up comedian. That’s literally the only thing stated in her six-word long Twitter bio which somehow still manages to have a grammatical error in it. I don’t know what kind of
safe spaces venues she has performed at, but as far as I’m aware the concept of “crowd management” is day one curriculum in the school of stand-up comedy. If someone is heckling you during your act, knowing how to put them in their place and shut them up is not only how one builds credibility and confidence in the industry but it’s also a great impromptu lesson in improvisational comedy. At the very least throwing out a “I don’t come to your job and knock the dick out of your mouth, do I” and cheesing it on purpose is an appropriate dismissal that equates to “lol didn’t read”. If you’re a stand-up comedian you are going to be heckled. This is not a case of “if” but “when”. It is a rite of passage in the industry. People expect to be entertained by you and if you fail to live up to their expectations, or if they’re just an asshole who’s had one too many cocktails, someone is going to eventually sling mud your way. If this is something you’re ill-equipped to deal with, maybe you’re not in the right profession.
According to her tweets and responses to trolls Jones is doing this to “expose” the haters and their racism, shallow racism from “me too” trolls who are only here because Jones was dumb enough to take the bait in the first place. Let’s ride with this narrative, then. Jones is here to put these racists on blast for the world to see. Let’s take a look at @STRGG_, one of the hecklers in question and the person Jones responded to with “Don not but his shit” in the screenshot above. @STRGG_’s Twitter bio says “buy metal gear solid 2”. Jones sees this and tells us not to “buy his shit”. That’s where her roast ends, that’s the extent that she’s either able or willing to go to insult this heckler. She’s not even willing to Google “metal gear solid 2” to discover that it was a PlayStation game that this guy almost certainly had nothing to do with. For someone who claims to work in the entertainment business the concept of a “meme” and “shitposting”, which are “in” styles of humor right now, is absolutely lost on her. This is what happens when someone else writes your material.
This is also why people get paid tons of money to manage other peoples’ public relations. I can’t fault Jones for being insecure and volatile, she was typecast to play an exaggerated caricature of black stereotypes in a movie that she was likely told would make her a superstar of this generation and in the end was completely let down and fucked over by the powers that be when the movie tanked. Ghostbusters was a big deal thirty years ago and Sony was building this movie up to be something huge. It might not seem like it at first glance, but a lot of work went into propping this movie up on a pedestal and Sony banked ultra hard on nostalgia to sell it. The producers tracked down Ray Parker Jr behind whatever dumpster he was living in to perform his mega hit single, the theme song to the original Ghostbusters, on ABC’s concert show Greatest Hits. They even phoned up Coca-Cola to bring the Ecto Cooler flavor of Hi-C juice out of retirement.
At the same time, however, the decision was also made to turn this into a “girls only, no boys allowed” clam party, effectively counteracting any gains their previous marketing had made and alienating male fans of the series. Whether or not you believe the new Ghostbusters to be “SJW shilling” is irrelevant, as are the conspiracies that Sony was paying off reviewers or actively deleting YouTube comments from women that were critical of the film’s trailer. What it all boils down to is a film studio greenlighting and producing a lackluster cash grab under the guise of being “progressive” and fostering a hostile atmosphere toward criticism by banking on the itchy trigger fingers of socially disenfranchised Millennials to make the movie go viral by means of kicking up online shitstorms everywhere.
Leslie Jones’ meltdown on Twitter is just one more step in the cringe-filled downward spiral that is Ghostbusters. Following the “harassment campaign” against the actress, the hashtag #LoveForLeslieJ began trending on the social network. Like moths to a flame, the hashtag attracted the other side of the argument and neo-progressives flocked to Jones’ side posting and re-tweeting the same tired drivel about this film that they’ve regurgitated for months, turning the tag into yet another makeshift battleground for a niche crusade that nobody really cares about. Ghostbusters is a flop, and it’s not a mistake worth committing career suicide over.
Jones is a victim of circumstance, played by the very system she believed supported her.