Martin Shkreli suspended from Twitter for harassing freelance journalist Lauren Duca

Martin Shkreli

AP Photo/Richard Drew

Martin Shkreli.

Twitter suspended Martin Shkreli’s account on Sunday following his trolling of freelance journalist Lauren Duca.

After Duca wrote a widely-read opinion piece for Teen Vogue in December called “Donald Trump is gaslighting America,” Shkreli started targeting her with jokes about his affection for her on Twitter, including a direct message he allegedly sent asking her to be his date to Trump’s inauguration.

Twitter confirmed to Business Insider that Shkreli’s account suspension was related to his harassment of Duca, and that he will have to change parts of his account if he appeals to have it reinstated.

“The Twitter Rules prohibit targeted harassment, and we will take action on accounts violating those policies,” a Twitter spokesperson told Business Insider on Sunday.

We’ve reached out to Shkreli and Duca for comment and will update this story if we hear back.

Shkreli, a self-professed Trump supporter, first made headlines when a pharmaceutical company he founded called Turing raised the price of a life-saving AIDS drug by over 5,000%, a controversial desicion that he then laughed about during his Congressional testimony. He also faces fraud charges for allegedly attempting to loot another pharmaceutical company he ran, Retrophin, in 2014.

On Sunday morning, Duca tweeted a screenshot of Shkreli’s account to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. Shkreli had photoshopped pictures of Duca and made one of them his profile picture. Part of his bio read, “I have a small crush on @laurenduca (hope she doesn’t find out).”

“He’s an entitled creep and absolutely deserves to have his account suspended — perhaps indefinitely,” Duca told Buzzfeed News reporter David Mack, who first reported the suspension.

This isn’t the first time that Twitter has banned a famous figure for targeted harassment. In July 2016, the company permanently banned Breitbart editor and conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos for his tweets targeting “SNL” and “Ghostbusters” actress Leslie Jones.

“People should be able to express diverse opinions and beliefs on Twitter,” a Twitter spokesperson said at the time in response to Yiannopoulos’s banning. “But no one deserves to be subjected to targeted abuse online, and our rules prohibit inciting or engaging in the targeted abuse or harassment of others.”

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