Typical of its “too little, too late” policy towards harassment, hate speech, and general dickishness on the social-media platform, Twitter has finally gotten around to banning Martin Shkreli. The disgraced former pharmaceutical executive/’80s movie villain (seriously, don’t let this guy anywhere near any rec centers) is a proud, self-proclaimed troll, although up until this point most of his efforts have been focused on getting the Wu-Tang Clan’s attention.
That ship has sailed, though, leaving Shkreli desperately scrambling for a new way to fill the aching void at the center of his existence. He made a fatal miscalculation, though, in choosing to fuck with Lauren Duca, who has been putting every major cable news network to shame in recent months with her outspoken political reporting for Teen Vogue. Duca‘s article “Trump Is Gaslighting America” led to a number of appearances on said major cable news networks, after which Shkreli, an avowed Trump supporter (whether ironically or earnestly, it’s impossible to tell), felt compelled to take Duca down a peg.
He did so by declaring his “love” for Duca, a backhanded way of dismissing her professional achievements by reducing her to a sexual object while couching the implied threat of his statements behind the cowardly facade of “giving a compliment.”
Thinking this was awfully clever, the troll brigade jumped on board, making creepy Photoshops of Duca and Shkreli as well as inundating her inbox with your garden-variety “just be glad someone thinks you’re hot enough to harass, bitch” vitriol. By the time Shkreli had fully transformed his profile into a serial killer-worthy “shrine” to Duca—including a Photoshop made from a picture of Duca and her husband, replacing his head with Shkreli’s—she had had enough.
Duca sent screenshots to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey at 10:55 a.m. ET on Sunday, leading to the suspension of Shkreli’s account a few hours later. Asked for comment by The Verge, Duca released the following statement:
Martin 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. 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.
Last we heard, Shkreli’s Tinder account was still active.