Infamous pharmaceutical CEO Shkreli suspended from Twitter for harassing Lauren Duca

Former pharmaceutical CEO Martin Shkreli, shown in this Feb. 4, 2016 file photo, has been suspended from Twitter for allegedly harassing Teen Vogue writer Lauren Duca. (AP file)
Former pharmaceutical CEO Martin Shkreli, shown in this Feb. 4, 2016 file photo, has been suspended from Twitter for allegedly harassing Teen Vogue writer Lauren Duca. (AP file)

(MEDIA GENERAL) — Infamous pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli was suspended by Twitter on Sunday for violating the social media platform’s terms of service.

His suspension reportedly stems from an incident where he harassed Lauren Duca, a writer for Teen Vogue.

According to Reuters and other outlets, Shkreli, a noted supporter of President-elect Donald Trump, has asked Duca out on several dates. Duca, who has gained recent notoriety for a popular piece she wrote about Trump and a tense interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, has apparently rejected his advances.

On Thursday, Duca tweeted a screengrab of a direct message from Shkreli inviting her to attend Trump’s inauguration as his “+1.” Duca’s response of “I’d rather eat my own organs,” has been retweeted nearly 20,000 times.

On Sunday, Duca retweeted photos of Shkreli’s Twitter page, which includes a collage of photos of Duca. His profile photo was a photo of Duca sitting next to her husband with Shkreli’s face photoshopped onto her husband’s body.

According to the Daily Dot, Shkreli’s account was suspended about three hours later.

Duca released a statement to the Daily Dot calling Shkreli’s behavior “targeted harassment” and that he deserves to be suspended from the platform.

“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 deeper,” Duca said in her statement.

Twitter suspensions have stirred debate around the social media platform. Many people argue users are given too much freedom and many – notably women and journalists – are left vulnerable to personal attacks and threats.

Despite the everyday discussion of cyber bullying, Twitter has tried to toe the line between providing an open space for communication and censoring vilified behavior. Critics have said not enough is being done to protect its users.

In August 2016, Twitter suspended 235,000 accounts that promoted terrorism. In November, the micro-blogging platform made headlines for suspended accounts of several people associated with the alt-right movement for their “hateful conduct.”

Shkreli came to fame after he was vilified for purchasing the rights to a cancer treatment drug called Daraprim and raising the price nearly 5,000 percent. Shkreli, who was the CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, was forced to step down in 2015 after it was announced he was the subject of anti-trust probes by the Federal Trade Commission in past positions.