On January 8, rising entrepreneur and pharmaceutical mogul Martin Shkreli’s Twitter account was suspended following an allegation of harassment by journalist Lauren Duca.
Shkreli’s suspension followed his invitation to Duca to accompany him to the inauguration of President-Elect Donald Trump. Given that Duca has an extensive history of disdain for Trump and Trump’s ilk, she cited the tweet as harassment, resulting in what many see as a heavy-handed ban by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.
The tweet was a screen capture of messages sent by Shkreli to Duca, with the messages stating as follows:
The image was retweeted by Duca on her account (@laurenduca) and was captioned with “I would rather eat my own organs.” This resulted in Shkreli taking the incendiary remarks in stride and embracing the disgust dealt out by Duca. He made his Twitter iconography that of an edited picture of the two, which was then screen-captured and yet again retweeted to Jack Dorsey’s official Twitter account (@jack) with the caption “How is this allowed.”
Clearly the light banter of Martin Shkreli was dealt with swiftly by Jack Dorsey. Shkreli’s account was once devoted to ongoing jokes with his followers on a variety of topics such as “thots,” the rise of Trump and the online legacy of Barack Obama’s half-brother Malik (@ObamaMalik).
This comes after the infamous Twitter spat between right-wing troll, professional provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos and a lead actress in 2016’s divisive Ghostbusters revamp in which Leslie Jones became the target of online scorn which was honed by Yiannopoulos after his review of the film.
Whilst it’s difficult to discern the motives or the intentions of Shkreli, it is without doubt that his controversial corporate decision making in the past hasn’t helped his public perception within the context of the recent drama. Shkreli is notorious for jacking up the price of his HIV drug Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 dollars which enraged working classes from across the world that needed the assistance of the medication. Shkreli attempted to silence tensions by insisting that clientele wouldn’t pay more than they would have to due to insurance companies or state-sanctioned healthcare bearing the brunt of the price hike. Such a price-hike was “necessary” according to Shkreli, as he stated that the current price was hurting the company and that the raise would be justified by the immense progress made towards helping the industry.
Shkreli has been very vocal about his devotion to Donald Trump’s presidential bid which further distanced himself from the public sphere and is now one more name to add to the list of Trump supporters that found themselves segregated from the media. Not only has Yiannopoulos faced termination of his once popular account (@Nero) but Samuel Hyde of the Million Dollar Extreme comedy troupe has found his show “World Peace” cancelled at the hands of the Turner Broadcasting system for Hyde’s personal and highly contentious support of Trump.
As Twitter begins to show signs of partisanship, those on the right wing begin to fear the extinction of their voices on social media and are finding very little sympathy from mainstream media outlets. Despite not having given an official response, the official Facebook account of Martin Shkreli has shared an article which sides with his plight in the ideological battle facing the online world.
This post was written by David McManus.
The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.
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