Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones, who faced widespread online racial abuse earlier this year, now appears to be the victim of a website hack with explicit images and her personal information posted online.
The standup comedian’s site JustLeslie.com has been taken down after hackers reportedly took it over and published photos of her driver’s licence and passport, along with nude images allegedly from her iCloud account.
The attack also featured a video of Harambe, the gorilla shot and killed at a US zoo earlier this year after a boy climbed into his enclosure.
For many, that brought back memories of the racist attacks the 48-year-old black actor has faced since she climbed to fame on Saturday Night Live and in her breakthrough movie this year.
Jones has been active on social media this month, live-tweeting the Olympics as a commentator for the NBC network.
After black gymnast Gabby Douglas faced intense online harassment for not placing her hand over her heart while the US national anthem was played, Jones came to her defence, asking followers to support the 20-year-old with the hashtag #LOVE4GABBYUSA.
Jones has been outspoken about online bullying. Twitter recently responded by permanently banning Milo Yiannopoulos, a British columnist for the right-wing website Breitbart, who had aggressively targeted Jones after Ghostbusters came out. Yiannopoulos’s boss Stephen Bannon now runs the Donald Trump campaign.
Jones briefly quit Twitter after a wave of abusive tweets, saying: “I feel like I’m in a personal hell. I didn’t do anything to deserve this. It’s just too much.”
Many argue the social media site has not done enough to protect people from bullying and threats.
Tweeting their support for Jones after the hack, many users noted that black women in positions of power and in entertainment often face racist and misogynistic attacks and that trolls have organised co-ordinated campaigns to target women of colour.
Some said the hack constituted a hate crime. Others pointed out that her three Ghostbusters co-stars, who are white, have not faced harassment or bullying.
Other celebrities have taken to Twitter to support Jones. A number are using the hashtag used when she was attacked earlier this year: #StandWithLeslie.
Paul Feig, who directed Jones in Ghostbusters, was one of the first to come to her defence: “What’s happening to @Lesdoggg is an absolute outrage. Alt-right, haters, trolls, ‘comedians,’ whoever you are, you’re just sad.”
Katy Perry labelled the attack “misogynoir,” a reflection of the sexist and racist nature of the hack. Another musician, Sara Bareilles, said the hack came from “misplaced sadness and anger.”
Jones’ Saturday Night Live co-stars were among the most vocal respondents, and actor Lena Dunham tweeted: “Let’s turn our anger at trolls into love for Leslie Jones and into strategies to protect all the heroines who don’t deserve this bullshit.”
Even Yiannopoulos expressed sympathy: “I’m distressed to hear that Leslie Jones has been hacked and naked pictures of her have been posted online. I know we had our differences after my review of Ghostbusters but I wish her all the best at what must be a deeply upsetting time,” he said.
Jones is not the first female actor to have explicit photos released following a hack. Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence had nude photos stolen from her Apple iCloud account and published on the 4chan website. Roughly 100 other female celebrities had naked photos posted in that 2014 hack.