Rolling Stone publishes a revealing excerpt from Leslie Jones’ new memoir, shedding light on the brutal racism and death threats she endured due to her involvement in the 2016 “Ghostbusters” reboot. The Sony release, directed by Paul Feig of “Bridesmaids” fame, faced a torrent of racist and misogynistic backlash for its groundbreaking all-female main cast, with Leslie Jones starring alongside Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, and Kate McKinnon.
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European Press Tour or Ordeal?
Jones recalls her experiences during the film’s European press tour, where a journalist made a startling comment, saying, “I don’t like this movie, and you’ve got five minutes to prove to me that it is worth watching.” This was just the tip of the iceberg.
“It wasn’t just racism and misogyny,” Jones writes in her memoir, “A lot of it had to do with the fact that I was playing an MTA worker, as though that was something I should be ashamed of. I’d tried to fight back — I was a comic — I was used to someone heckling me, so for every piece of bullshit on Twitter, I had a reply.”
The online harassment became so unbearable that Jones temporarily deleted her Twitter account for 24 hours. She notes, “there had been multiple attempts to hack me.” At the time, Jack Dorsey was the CEO of Twitter and reached out to her with a direct message. “Jack put people on my account to monitor it because someone is always trying to hack me,” she added.
From Heckling to Death Threats
As the bullying escalated, Jones found herself in tears, facing explicit death threats. “I can’t believe anyone would do this shit to someone, anyone, for working,” she writes. “This is awful. I am in a movie. Death threats for something as small as that?”
Describing the horrifying content she received, Jones says, “I was being sent films of being hanged, of white guys jacking off on my picture, saying, ‘You fucking n—–. We going to kill you.’ Why are people being so evil to each other? How can you sit and type ‘I want to kill you.’ Who does that?”
Unforgivable Words from Director Jason Reitman
Jones also addressed director Jason Reitman’s comments on a podcast about his 2021 reboot, “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” in which he stated that the film was “trying to go back to the original technique and hand the movie back to the fans.” Jones found this comment “unforgivable.”
Although Reitman later attempted to clarify, expressing admiration for the 2016 cast and their contribution to expanding the franchise, Jones insists, “The damage was done. Bringing up the idea of giving the movie ‘back to the fans’ was a pretty clear shout-out to all those losers who went after us for making an all-female film.”
Fighting for Fair Compensation
In her memoir, Jones also reveals her struggle for fair compensation on the set of the “Ghostbusters” reboot. Despite her successful career, she was initially offered a meager $67,000 for the role and had to fight for a more equitable $150,000.
“It was made clear to me at times during the process that I was lucky to even be on that movie,” she writes, “but honestly, I was thinking, ‘I don’t have to be in this muthafucka.’ Especially as I got paid way less than Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig. No knock on them, but my first offer was to do that movie for $67,000. I had to fight to get more (in the end I got $150K), but the message was clear: ‘This is gonna blow you up—after this, you’re made for life,’ all that kind of shit, as though I hadn’t had decades of a successful career already. And in the end, all it made for me was heartache and one big-ass controversy.”
Leslie Jones’ memoir, titled “Leslie F*cking Jones,” is now available for purchase, offering readers a deeper look into her experiences in Hollywood. For the complete excerpt, visit the Rolling Stone website.