Twitter scores Leslie Jones a Rio role after overcoming abuse
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – “Ghostbusters” actress Leslie Jones almost quit Twitter last month after receiving online abuse, but the comedian had the last laugh on Monday as her humorous Olympics tweets landed her an invite from NBC to cover the sporting event.
Comcast Corp-owned NBC Sports said Jones, a cast member on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” will be in Rio de Janeiro by Friday and will cover live Olympics sports, meet the athletes and “spread her passion for sports and the Olympics.”
Jones, one of the leads in last month’s “Ghostbusters” movie, spent the weekend tweeting reactions, responses and words of support to Team USA in events such as gymnastics, swimming and tennis to more than 400,000 followers.
“Got to say I’m so proud there is two black girls in the crew to rep for USA!!,” Jones, who is black, tweeted on Sunday with a video of Simone Biles and Gabby Douglas from the U.S. gymnastics team.
Her tweets included video of her lively – and at times raucous – reactions to watching Team USA’s performance, cheering them on. She caught the attention of NBC Olympics executive producer Jim Bell, who tweeted at Jones asking “You’re officially invited to Rio. Want to come?”
“We’re thrilled to have Leslie come to the Olympics,” Bell said in a statement. “She’s a member of the family, and her passion for the Olympics is remarkable.”
Jones announced Monday that she was heading to Rio in a tweet saying “RIO BOUND BABY USA! USA!!” with a 10-second video showing her wearing NBC’s Rio Olympics cap and waving a U.S. flag.
The comedian almost quit Twitter last month after receiving a barrage of sexist and racist abuse and harassment from a number of users.
Twitter Inc interjected and permanently suspended numerous users accounts for harassment and said it will redouble efforts to quickly thwart abusive behavior and block repeat offenders from the social media site.
(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Bill Rigby)