Tech by VICE

Twitter Finally Cracked Down on ‘Pharma Bro’ Martin Shkreli

Writer Lauren Duca has reported a ton of harassment after she appeared on Fox News.

by Kaleigh Rogers
Jan 9 2017, 4:45pm

Image: AP/Craig Ruttle

Twitter has suspended Martin Shkreli, the wealthy pharmaceutical CEO who drew attention and ire in 2015 after acquiring, then jacking up the price of, an HIV drug.

Over the last few days, Shkreli had been tweeting about magazine journalist Lauren Duca, sending her messages, and decorating his twitter profile with altered images of him with Duca, including an image of Shkreli's face Photoshopped over Duca's husband's. Duca documented the harassment on her own account, tweeting directly to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey with screengrabs of Shkreli's profile:

Duca rose to prominence last year after penning a viral op-ed for Teen Vogue titled: "Donald Trump Is Gaslighting America," where she argued that the president-elect's proclivity to deny proven facts amounts to psychological manipulation. She has received threats and harassment since, according to her tweets:

Meanwhile, Shkreli is a high-profile character in his own right, drawing attention for his drug price hike, but also for his live stream videos, and being arrested and charged with fraud for allegedly operating what investigators dubbed a "Ponzi-like scheme" through his hedge fund companies. He has also has a documented history of trolling on Twitter, such as the time he tried to tease actor Patton Oswalt.

That Twitter finally decided to take away his privileges is a sign of the times. The company has faced criticism for not doing enough to protect users being harassed, and has struggled to find the right approach to curbing abuse on the platform.

Read More: So Milo's Banned. Now Will Twitter Start Working on Harassment?

Taking on Pharma's biggest troll is their latest move, and a step in the right direction. But having famous, or at least infamous, people involved most likely pushed this case over the edge.

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