The Crusader Newspaper Group

Hackers publish nude pictures on Leslie Jones’s website

By Katie Rogers and Jonah Engel Bromwich,

Leslie Jones, a co-star of this year’s “Ghostbusters” movie who has been besieged in the past month by online abusers who have targeted her appearance and her race, was victimized again on Wednesday when her personal website appeared to have been hacked.

The hackers inserted a picture of the gorilla Harambe on the site, and exposed what appeared to be explicit photos of the actress, along with pictures of her driver’s license and a passport, and images of her with stars like Rihanna, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West.

The website was taken offline after the hack, which was initially reported by TMZ.

An email to a representative for Ms. Jones was not immediately returned on Wednesday.

The website, which had contained information about her comedy career and her past work in film, appeared to have been retooled to display the personal photos and information.

There was no way to independently confirm that the photos were of Ms. Jones and whether the identification documents were real, but the address on the driver’s license appeared to correspond with information about Ms. Jones that is available through public records.

Ms. Jones, 48, had spent much of the past month battling online trolls who sent her a stream of racist imagery, pornography and abusive language. She briefly left Twitter, but later returned to tweet about the Rio Olympics.

In the hours after Ms. Jones’s site was taken offline, high-profile defenders offered public support.

“These acts against Leslie Jones are sickening,” the musician Questlove wrote in a post on Twitter. “It’s racist & sexist. It’s disgusting. This is hate crimes. This ain’t ‘kids joshing round.’ ”

Others, including Paul Feig, the director of the “Ghostbusters” film, the comedian Patton Oswalt and the singer Katy Perry defended the actress on Twitter.

Brendesha Tynes, a professor of education and psychology at the University of Southern California who specializes in social media and cyberbullying, said in an interview that part of what was fueling the attacks against Ms. Jones was a “serious anti-black woman problem in the U.S.”

Dr. Tynes noted the criticism levied at the Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas while she was competing in Rio, and said, “Even the slightest perceived infraction leads people to get bullied.”

Ms. Jones herself had stood up for Ms. Douglas while in Brazil.

Sameer Hinduja, the co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center and a professor of Criminology at Florida-Atlantic University, applauded Ms. Jones for standing up to those who have victimized her over the past several months.

“She was an advocate for others that have been victimized and haven’t spoken up, and that has led to more attention, and has, perhaps indirectly, led to policy change on Twitter’s part,” he said in an interview, referring to the company’s taking action against some of the accounts that had hurled racist insults at Ms. Jones.

He added that Ms. Jones’s willingness to remain an active social-media presence may have made her a more tempting target for bullies and hackers.

“Some of those that cyberbully attempt to identify something that you’re particularly sensitive about, and because they know that it will get under your skin,” Dr. Hinduja said. “Or they’re just biased and intolerant, as perhaps was the case considering the racial hatred in some of the attacks on Leslie Jones.”

Dr. Tynes said that the hack on Wednesday felt particularly harrowing after Ms. Jones had seemed to prevail over those who attacked her earlier this summer, elevating her public presence by using social media sites such as Twitter and Snapchat prolifically during the Olympics.

“I have to say, as a human being, it’s heartbreaking,” Dr. Tynes said. “As a researcher, I haven’t seen in the adolescents I study anything this heinous.”

She said that attacks like these could have serious consequences on a victim’s mental health, including symptoms of depression and anxiety.

“I’m hoping that people will once again rally behind her, show her love, and hopefully serve as a buffer against some of the potentially negative consequences,” Dr. Tynes said. “I’m at a loss for words, but I do know that people will rally behind her once again.”

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