Martin Shkreli suspended from Twitter for alleged harassment of Lauren Duca

Martin Shkreli, the “Pharma-bro” reviled for drastically raising the price of an HIV drug, has been suspended from Twitter for the alleged “targeted harassment” of a journalist.

The former pharmaceuticals head had direct-messaged Lauren Duca, a freelance writer, on Thursday to ask her to be his “+1” to Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Duca rejected the offer, tweeting an image of the exchange on Sunday with the comment: “I would rather eat my own organs”.

Shkreli took offence, calling her a “cold you know what”, and changed his profile picture on Twitter to a doctored image appearing to show him sitting with Duca on a couch.

He also made his cover photo a collage of images of Duca with the caption, “For better or worse, ‘til death do us part, I love you with every single beat of my heart”, and changed his bio to refer to his “small crush on @laurenduca (hope she doesn’t find out)“.

Duca tweeted screenshots of Shkreli’s profile to Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s founder, asking “How is this allowed”.

Shkreli accused Duca of “[disrespecting] the sovereignty of [his] love” for her. Shortly afterwards, his account – followed by nearly 200,000 people – was removed.

Shkreli – who drew, and seemed to revel in, widespread criticism in 2015 for raising the price of an HIV drug from $13.50 to $750 a tablet – has a track record of trolling on social media.

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In November he leaked excerpts from the Wu-Tang Clan’s Once Upon a Time in Shaolin album, which he bought the only copy of for $2m, in celebration of Trump’s victory.

Duca told BuzzFeed on Sunday that she saw Shkreli’s invitation to Trump’s inauguration as an “act of trolling”: “I didn’t see the need to respect his privacy”.

She had never met him but said that he had been harassing her “for a while”.

“It’s an ongoing thing. He’s been actively tweeting about dating me.”

“I don’t know if he’s encouraging people to do this, but there’s been a small contingent of trolls telling me to sleep with him — but not that politely.”

The Guardian has attempted to contact Shkreli and Duca for comment. A Twitter spokesman said Twitter’s rules “prohibit targeted harassment, and we will take action on accounts violating those policies”.

Brianna Wu, a video game developer and software engineer who intends to run for the US House of Representatives in 2018, tweeted that she was glad to see Twitter suspended Shkreli.

“His bizarre obsession with respected journalist @laurenduca is creepy and wildly inappropriate. We need to move past this cultural idea that any woman with a successful career has to endure sexist abuse from strangers.”

Duca has been under fire from Trump supporters since early December, when an opinion piece she wrote for Teen Vogue that was critical of the president-elect went viral.

In the piece, titled “Donald Trump is gaslighting America”, Duca said the incoming president was attempting to “weaken and blind the American electorate” with his interchanging of facts and opinions, his self-contradictions, and his undermining of the press.

“As a candidate, Trump’s gas lighting was manipulative, as President-elect it is a deliberate attempt to destabilize journalism as a check on the power of government.”

Duca made a number of television appearances in the wake of the piece’s publication, including a combative exchange with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, in which he suggested she “stick to [covering] the thigh-high boots”.

Both the piece and the interview with Carlson made Duca a target online, she said.

On Sunday she shared screenshots of abuse she had received over email, including threats of hacking.

Duca appealed directly to Twitter founder Jack Dorsey to take harassment of women on the platform seriously.

“Why is harassment an automatic career hazard for a woman receiving any amount of professional attention?” Question for @jack & also society!” Duca tweeted.

She also volunteered to Megyn Kelly to contribute to a segment on “Trump-related harassment”: “These kind of attacks should be unacceptable across the aisle”.

Shkreli changed his profile picture on Twitter to a doctored image appearing to show him sitting with Duca on a couch. Photograph: Susan Walsh/AP

Martin Shkreli suspended from Twitter for harassing journalist

Martin Shkreli, the pharmaceutical industry entrepreneur who’d been indicted on charges of securities fraud, had his Twitter account suspended Sunday after he recently harassed a female journalist online.

Lauren Duca, a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in Teen Vogue and other publications, tweeted Thursday a screenshot of a direct Twitter message from Shkreli, in which he invited Duca to be his date to President-elect Trump's inauguration.

“I would rather eat my organs,” she tweeted, along with a screenshot of the note.

Shkreli continued to tweet about Duca. He posted several photos of Duca on his Twitter banner and used a doctored photo, showing Duca sitting on a sofa, as his Twitter profile image. He also wrote on his Twitter bio that he had “a small crush” on Duca and hopes that she doesn’t find out.  His messages about Duca prompted some of his followers to tweet other doctored photos of Shkreli and Duca.

On Sunday, Duca grabbed a screenshot of Shkreli’s Twitter page – along with a message, “How is this allowed” -- and tweeted it to Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter.

“Why is harassment an automatic career hazard for a woman receiving any amount of professional attention? Question for @jack & also society!,” Duca tweeted Sunday. Duca also tweeted threatening messages from others.

Duca told BuzzFeed that Shkreli "has been harassing (her) for a while.”

“I don’t know if he’s encouraging people to do this, but there’s been a small contingent of trolls telling me to sleep with him — but not that politely,” she said.

Before his account was suspended, Shkreli defended his actions by saying the photos were “a collage,” according to the images of Shkreli’s Twitter messages posted by BuzzFeed.

Shkreli was arrested and subpoenaed in February, 2016 by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform for his role in his company’s steep price hikes of an anti-parasitic drug. Shkreli declined to answers questions, invoking his 5th Amendment rights. He is free on bail pending trial.

Martin Shkreli Gets Suspended From Twitter After Cyber-Stalking Writer

Martin Shkreli’s creepiness has hit a whole new level.

The reviled former pharmaceutical executive has been suspended from Twitter after he made a series of unwelcome overtures toward a married Teen Vogue writer, going so far as to post fake images of the two of them together.

Writer Lauren Duca reached out to Twitter head Jack Dorsey for help Sunday after Shkreli replaced his Twitter account’s background and profile picture with various photos of Duca.

“For Better or Worse, Til Death do Us Part, I’ll Love You With Every Single Beat of my Heart,” read a message at the top of Shkreli’s Twitter page. In his profile description, he wrote: “I have a small crush on @laurenduca (hope she doesn’t find out).”

Duca responded with disgust, noting that one photo, showing Shkreli’s head pasted on another man’s body, is a doctored photo of her with her husband.

Duca, reached by BuzzFeed, said that she has never met Shkreli in person and that he appears to have taken an interest in her following an op-ed she wrote for Teen Vogue in December titled “Donald Trump is Gaslighting America.”

Speaking to BuzzFeed, Duca expressed hope that Shkreli will stay far away from Twitter and far away from her.

“He’s an entitled creep and absolutely deserves to have his account suspended ― perhaps indefinitely,” she said.

Soon after Shkreli’s account was suspended, Duca had to reach out to Dorsey again after an obscene Twitter account popped up and started lashing out at her, using Duca’s own name and photo.

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