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Martin Shkreli (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

‘A small crush’

Detested ‘Pharma Bro’ banned from Twitter for repeatedly harassing a female reporter

January 9, 2017

Martin Shkreli, the former Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO who infamously raised the price of a lifesaving drug by more than 500 percent overnight — a move that earned him the dubious nickname “Pharma Bro” — has been suspended from Twitter after engaging in a bizarre and prolonged harassment campaign against freelance reporter Lauren Duca.

Duca became a popular figure online after an essay she wrote for Teen Vogue titled, “Trump is Gaslighting America,” drew the ire of Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, who suggested that Duca stop talking about politics and “stick to thigh-high boots.” Shkreli, a self-declared Donald Trump supporter, had also apparently taken issue with Duca’s disdain for the president-elect. On Thursday, Duca revealed that Shkreli had sent her a direct message asking her if she would be his date to Trump’s inauguration. Needless to say, Duca wasn’t pleased.

That was only the beginning, however. Shkreli proceeded to add a line to his Twitter bio that said he had “a small crush on @laurenduca.” Even more creepily, he updated his Twitter profile’s banner to include a collage of photos of Duca, and even changed his profile image to a photoshopped image of Duca and her husband — featuring Shkreli’s face in place of Duca’s husband’s face. Shkreli and his followers further harassed Duca, some even tweeting additional photoshops of Shkreli and Duca together as a couple.

In comments made shortly before the suspension of his account, Shkreli said that not only were his actions not harassment but they weren’t even “against Duca’s will” — an assertion he said was supported by her not having responded to any of his messages. On Sunday, Duca tweeted screenshots of Shkreli’s profile to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. Dorsey, apparently, did consider Shkreli’s behavior to be harassment — within hours of Duca’s message to Dorsey, Shkreli’s Twitter account had been suspended.

Read the full story at The Verge.


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