Dear Leslie Jones,
All I want to say is thank you. Thank you for your courage. Thank you for standing up to the trolls who wanted nothing more than to ruin your life. Thank you for showing them that women are stronger than their hateful words.
When I saw the news of the despicable attack against you in August, I was disgusted. I couldn't believe that some sad, small men could be so pissed about your role in a movie that they would deface your website with racist memes and spread your most personal images and information on social media. And then, as if that weren't enough, I watched in horror as more trolls took to Twitter to make vicious jokes at your expense. I remember one in particular, a man who said he felt sorry for your hackers for having to see your nude photos. It made me sick to my stomach.
But watching you address the attack on Saturday Night Live this week gave me so much hope. Throughout everything, you've held your head up high, and your hilarious takedown of your trolls on Saturday night was everything.
I laughed out loud when you explained why internet trolls have nothing on the ones you've faced in real life.
"Do you think some words on the internet can hurt me? I once had a crazy bitch try to beat me with a shovel at the bus stop because I took her spot on the bench. Now that's a troll! Real trolls ain't tappin' on keyboards. They're swinging shovels.," you said, and I realized you were right. Those trolls stick to the internet because they're too cowardly to face their targets in real life.
The attack against you was particularly poignant because it happened at the same time that I was facing an online attack of my own. I'm never shy about tweeting my opinions. But right around the same time you were attacked, a celebrity replied to one of my tweets. Suddenly, a lot more than the 500 or so people who follow me (mostly friends and colleagues) were paying attention to my political opinion, and a lot of them didn't agree.
After three days of death and rape threats, I realized I was shaking every time I opened my Twitter app, but it was like a compulsion. I couldn't stop. So I deactivated my Twitter account.
Still, what happened to me was the tiniest fraction of what you endured, Leslie. Honestly, the hate that I was getting was probably pretty comparable to what you get on a daily basis, just for being a woman who exists in the public eye online. It gave me so much perspective about how strong you really are, and the way you've handled yourself with class, grace and humor has been a healing inspiration for me.
So thank you, Leslie, from me, and from all other women who need a little strength from one of our own.
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