'Ghostbusters,' Donald Trump, and the alt-right
Editor of the Reformer:
Shortly after the release of the new "Ghostbusters" movie, actress Leslie Jones was met with a tidal wave of hate speech on Twitter. The reboot, which features an all-female leading cast, has been criticized by anti-feminist groups for ruining the nostalgia of the original. A black comedian and actress, Jones became the recipient of misogynistic comments and racial slurs long thought eradicated. The volume of tweets sent in her direction was attributed to Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos' accusation that she was merely "playing the victim," encouraging his numerous politically-incorrect-and-proud followers to ramp up their attacks.
This was not Yiannopoulos's first campaign of hate speech. He has a history of flagrant rhetoric against what he sees as "sociopathic" political correctness. He's an ardent supporter of the GamerGate movement, which came about in 2014 to protest inclusionary politics in video games. However, this may have been his last hurrah on Twitter. After being reported by Jones and many of her followers, Yiannopoulos was permanently banned from the platform.
Still, the base he inspired to commit these ugly attacks persists. They've come to be known as the alt-right: a group opposed to political correctness and multiculturalism. The movement is also associated with Donald Trump, whom Yiannopoulos supports.
The same attitude on display here also run through Trump's rhetoric: a resentment, hatred even, towards inclusionary politics, an insistence that his followers shouldn't be ashamed of their prejudice and shouldn't be afraid to speak it. The harassment of Leslie Jones was an example of how this type of leadership encourages people to act out on their hatred. Trump's nomination has already given the alt-right a sense of legitimacy. It's frightening to imagine what would result if he succeeds in securing our nation's highest office.
Stephen Pelletierto, Brattleboro, July 25