Leslie Jones Responds to Criticism of Her Ghostbusters Character

Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones Melissa McCarthy and Kate McKinnon - Ghostbusters

Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones Melissa McCarthy and Kate McKinnon – Ghostbusters

When the trailer for the new Ghostbusters dropped on March 3rd, there was on particular criticism of the movie that hit hard for comedian Leslie Jones, who plays MTA worker Patty in the film. HitFix editor Donna Dickens wrote. “[I]t’s been over 30 years and the dynamic of three white scientists and ‘street-wise’ minority is dated.” 

“[T]he fact that the only woman of color on the Ghostbusters team is also the only member of the team who isn’t a scientist or any sort of expert in this field is particularly grating to modern audiences,” Kadeen Griffiths wrote in Bustle.

On our own Facebook page, the trailer received comments such as:

Not so sure about this. Smart but dippy white women and street smart funny black woman?

and

Hooray for women, boo for racial stereotypes.

Leslie Jones has heard that criticism, and she took to Twitter to defend the movie and her part in it.

Jones even tweeted out a letter she received from an MTA worker, proud that she was representing her in the film.

I received this from a MTA worker:Hey Leslie, thanks for being you. A question was asked by a news writer about your role on your new movie as a black actresses. This was my response:

I work for the MTA in that role as a Token Booth Clerk and I was happy to see my job, something which provides me with plenty of jokes, a great perspective on society, and a bird’s eye view of horrible shit that I witness everyday on screen. (I wished Leslie would have hooked me up…a joke) however, the fact that my position as a clerk is the most abused by society, I feel this may give us a semblance of humanness. That’s what I attempted in my one woman show “Swipe This! My Life in Transit

That glass in the booth have folk thinking I’m invisible, that I’m not a college graduate, and a producer, comedian, writer, actor, etc. I’m a verb. I’m not a college graduate, and a producer, comedian, writer, actor, etc. I’m a verb. I’m not a miserable, neck-rolling, stereotype in civil service. I love my job and I enjoy engaging people with information infused with humor.

Leslie is a comedian. She’s a larger than life personality and it’s the first thing we see no matter what role she gets. As she grows, she will be able to tap into all her greatness. I am supporting this movie because I see me.

I hope you receive all that’s for you. You looked so cute in the uniform. Congrats Sis. I’m proud of you. Kick ass.

Interestingly enough, this defense of Jones’ character may not even be the strongest one out there. Multiple sources close to the movie have mentioned that the trailer undersells Jones’ importance to the plot and her contributions to the team. In early press materials she is described as a “municipal historian.” It is quite possible that her encyclopedic knowledge both of the city and its history are every bit as crucial to the team’s success as the folks behind the science.

And as  Andrew Shaffer, writer of the film’s book adaptation wryly pointed out:

Ghostbusters hits theaters on July 15, 2016.

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John Marcotte

John Marcotte

Secret identity of a father raising two super-heroic young girls

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