Sept. 6, 2014. Leslie Jones poses at the “Top Five” premiere at the Toronto Film Festival. (The Associated Press)
Leslie Jones ain’t afraid of no ghost — or playing a transit worker.
The co-star of the upcoming all-female version of “Ghostbusters” took to Twitter to defend her role as a member of the paranormal-fighting group who appears in footage released Thursday to be an employee of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
The portrayal of the team’s only non-white member as a subway worker in filmmaker Paul Feig’s new “Ghostbusters” came under fire on social media after the trailer debuted online.
“Why can’t a regular person be a Ghostbuster?” the African-American actress-comedienne posted on Twitter. “I’m confused. And why can’t I be the one who plays them? I am a performer. Just go see the movie!”
Jones’ character Patty teams up to fight ghosts and other apparitions in the film with Kristen Wiig’s particle physicist Erin, Melissa McCarthy’s paranormal researcher Abby and Kate McKinnon’s nuclear engineer Jillian.
In one scene, Jones’ character tells them, “You guys are really smart about this science stuff, but I know New York — and I can borrow a car from my uncle.”
A poster for the character released earlier this year referred to Patty as a “ghost tracker, municipal historian, metaphysical commando.”
“I understand this is a reboot of ‘Ghostbusters’ from 1984 and the new characters mirror their male counterparts,” wrote Donna Dickens on the pop culture site HitFix.com on Friday. “But it’s been over 30 years and the dynamic of three white scientists and ‘street-wise’ minority is dated.”
Jones, who serves as a “Saturday Night Live” cast member and appeared in the film “Top Five,” made it clear she was not personally offended by the part, adding on Twitter: “IT’S NOT A MAN, WOMAN, RACE, CLASS THANG!! IT’S A GHOSTBUSTER THANG!!”
A spokeswoman for “Ghostbusters” writer-director Feig did not immediately return messages seeking comment.
In the original “Ghostbusters” films, Ernie Hudson portrayed the team’s only non-white member, Winston. He joined the group by responding to a help wanted ad and did not have any prior experience with paranormal activity.
The new “Ghostbusters” installment is scheduled for release July 15.