Martin Shkreli suspended from Twitter for harassing freelance journalist
Teen Vogue writer claims trolling is an ‘automatic occupational hazard’ for female writers
Twitter suspended Martin Shkreli’s account on Sunday following his trolling of freelance journalist Lauren Duca.
After Duca wrote a widely-read opinion piece for Teen Vogue in December called “Donald Trump is gaslighting America,” Shkreli started targeting her with jokes about his affection for her on Twitter, including a direct message he allegedly sent asking her to be his date to Trump’s inauguration.
I would rather eat my own organs pic.twitter.com/IgeCRZqk8w
— Lauren Duca (@laurenduca) January 5, 2017
On Sunday morning, Duca tweeted a screenshot of Shkreli’s account to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. Shkreli had photoshopped pictures of Duca and made one of them his profile picture. Part of his bio read, “I have a small crush on @laurenduca (hope she doesn’t find out).”
Twitter confirmed that Shkreli’s account suspension was related to his harassment of Duca, and that he will have to change parts of his account if he appeals to have it reinstated.
“The Twitter Rules prohibit targeted harassment, and we will take action on accounts violating those policies,” a Twitter spokesperson told Business Insider on Sunday. The spokesperson confirmed that Shkreli’s account had also been suspended on Periscope, the live video streaming app Twitter owns.
Duca told Business Insider via Twitter direct message that Shkreli “is engaged in targeted harassment, and absolutely deserves to have his account suspended.”
“It’s unfortunate that the only reason people are paying attention is because he’s relatively high-profile,” she said. “Trolling seems to be an automatic occupational hazard for female writers who receive any level of professional attention. That’s something Twitter needs to work harder to fix, but obviously the problem runs far deeper.”
Shkreli responded to Business Insider’s request for comment with the word “nope.”
A self-professed Trump supporter, Shkreli first made headlines when a pharmaceutical company he founded called Turing raised the price of a life-saving AIDS drug by over 5,000 per cent, a controversial decision that he then laughed about during his Congressional testimony. He also faces fraud charges for allegedly attempting to loot another pharmaceutical company he ran, Retrophin, in 2014.
This isn’t the first time that Twitter has banned a famous figure for targeted harassment. In July 2016, the company permanently banned Breitbart editor and conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos for his tweets targeting “SNL” and “Ghostbusters” actress Leslie Jones.
“People should be able to express diverse opinions and beliefs on Twitter,” a Twitter spokesperson said at the time in response to Yiannopoulos’s banning. “But no one deserves to be subjected to targeted abuse online, and our rules prohibit inciting or engaging in the targeted abuse or harassment of others.”