His account was suspended, but Lauren Duca knows the issue is much deeper.
Martin Shkreli has rarely been in the news for positive reasons, and this time it’s no different. He first started truly making waves when he was CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals and jacked up the price of Daraprim, a drug used for an infection caused by HIV, from $13.50 to $750 in 2015. People rejoiced when he went to jail and faced charges for fraud and illegally transferring funds from one company to another to pay off bad market debts.
In this case, Shkreli’s Twitter account was suspended because of his harassment towards freelance journalist Lauren Duca, who works primarily for Teen Vogue. After a widely-read opinion piece titled “Donald Trump Is Gaslighting America” and an interview with Tucker Carlson about Ivanka Trump that went viral, Shkreli added his voice to the mix of men harassing Duca.
In a direct message last week, Shkreli asked Duca to be his date to Donald Trump’s inauguration, to which she replied that she would “rather eat my own organs.”
I would rather eat my own organs pic.twitter.com/IgeCRZqk8w
— Lauren Duca (@laurenduca) January 5, 2017
His obsession with her only grew over a matter of days, at which point Duca posted a screenshot of Shkreli’s profile and tagged Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. The profile featured a photoshopped picture of Shkreli with Duca and then several photos of Duca with what appears to be wedding vows written over them. Duca asked Dorsey, “How is this allowed?”
— Lauren Duca (@laurenduca) January 8, 2017
After this exposure, Shkreli’s account was suspended and Twitter confirmed that his suspension was related to his harassment of Duca. A Twitter spokesperson told Business Insider on Sunday,
“The Twitter Rules prohibit targeted harassment, and we will take action on accounts violating those policies.”
Shkreli will reportedly have to change some of his account features before he is able to have his account reinstated. Though Duca is happy with the suspension, she is also upset over another aspect of the whole issue. In a direct message to Business Insider, Duca said,
“It’s unfortunate that the only reason people are paying attention is because he’s relatively high-profile. 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.”
She is absolutely right. After a quick glance through her Twitter feed, it’s evident that Duca puts up with harassment and rape threats daily, primarily from misogynist men, as a reaction to her political beliefs. The ones she posts with cheeky responses are just a fraction of the ones she must receive hourly, but the journalist keeps a fierce resolve against the horrible people trying to discourage her from expressing her beliefs.
With any luck, Martin Shkreli’s Twitter will never resurface but that’s unlikely considering his tenacity for being obnoxious and harassing the American public. In the meantime, Duca will likely continue being an advocate for women’s rights, which include combatting harassment in all its forms.
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