The filmmaker, actor, poet and activist has been a powerful voice for sexual abuse survivors
Rose McGowan has been using Twitter as a platform to tell it like it fucking is for some time now, and the filmmaker and actor has been vocal about the emerging Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse allegations. She’s been tweeting email exchanges and calling out actors and industry people she says were complicit and aware of the film producer’s gross behaviour over decades – telling Ben Affleck to fuck off and calling Donna Karan ‘scum in a fancy dress’.
Writing on Instagram, McGowan announced she had been suspended from Twitter for 12 hours. “TWITTER HAS SUSPENDED ME,” she wrote. “THERE ARE POWERFUL FORCES AT WORK. BE MY VOICE. #ROSEARMY.”
Twitter regulations stipulate that she would not be able to tweet unless she deleted “tweets that violate our rules”. It wasn’t made clear what tweets had been flagged.
Taking a brief look at replies to her recent tweets, McGowan has received massive support, but has also been on the receiving end of a wave of misogynistic, disgusting troll abuse for speaking out.
McGowan has voiced support from other accusers like Asia Argento and Ronan Farrow, the New Yorker journalist who wrote the investigation that saw 13 women come forward with stories of harrassment, and more since. She called Ben Affleck a liar after he asserted he had no knowledge of Weinstein’s behaviour.
Other prominent actors have come forward to condemn Weinstein and speak of their own experience, like Cara Delevingne and Léa Seydoux. McGowan previously spoke out about an unnamed studio head who raped her, and that a lawyer had told her she would “never win” against her powerful abuser.
She reached a $100k settlement with Weinstein back in 1997 over what was reported to be an incident that happened as she filmed Scream.
Ah, Twitter. It gave trolls, racists and annoying prolonged thread-tweeters 140 extra characters but does little to nothing about the abuse that makes it into a cesspit. Rose McGowan was suspended while exposing horrifying sexual violence and harassment kept quiet in the film industry at the expense of so many. Though Twitter claims that it has dealt with 10 times more abuse than last year, not enough is being done, and those who should be protected and platformed are suffering. So you can’t speak up for injustice, but here’s what Twitter does let you do:
BE A NAZI
The neo-nazi and very punchable Richard Spencer is allowed to run rampant on Twitter, where a lot of alt-right sentiments fester, including the Unite the Right group that descended on Charlottesville. David Duke, who was a KKK Grand Wizard, spews anti-Semitism, referring to Jews as ‘Zionist neocons’ and claiming Jewish people align themselves with Isis – he was suspended briefly, but continues to incite hatred on Twitter today.
Donald Trump tweeted that the North Korean leadership “won’t be around much longer”, a statement that t hermit kingdom’s foreign minister asserted was a declaration of war. Many called for Twitter to step in and delete the offensive, violence-inciting tweet, but the social media site claimed its policy on violent threats didn’t apply there. Why? Because of its ‘newsworthiness’ and that it was of public interest.
Evan Williams, a co-founder of Twitter, previously apologised for the site’s potential hand in helping Trump get elected.
Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won't be around much longer!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2017
STIR POLITICAL TURMOIL AS A RUSSIAN BOT
Just what the fuck are all these ‘generic name + loads of numbers’ Twitter accounts? @DavidJo52951945? @SallyLee18347232? Experts have warned that thousands of these accounts could be part of a Russian ‘disinformation campaign’. One claimed to be a Brexit and UKIP supporter with anti-migrant and Islamaphobic views had over 100,000 followers – it was exposed in an investigation by The Times.
Bots were also found to be encouraging claims of voter fraud in Germany’s national elections. Additionally, the Independent reported that a “Troll Factory” was run by the Russian government in St Petersburg, where social media accounts in different languages were populated with Kremlin views.
DIRECT DISGUSTING MISOGYNISTIC ABUSE AT WOMEN
Actors, celebrities, politicians, any semi-active Twitter users that identify as women will have a story of sexism on this platform. At 21 I had an anonymous troll from Twitter attempt to get my university scholarship taken off me. Sometimes men send me images of stillbirths and graphic anti-choice propaganda because I’m vocally pro-choice. Hackney MP Diane Abbott received nearly half of all sexist abuse online during the election – just look at her mentions and you can see pages of vile misogynistic and racist harassment. MP for Birmingham Yardley Jess Phillips received more than 600 threats of rape in one evening on Twitter, so she installed security at her home.
Leslie Jones was forced off Twitter by a racist and sexist mob following the Ghostbusters reboot. Writer Lindy West faced an avalanche of fatphobic abuse every day until she quit the platform for good. The abuse is insidious, it’s everywhere.
ENCOURAGE AND PROFIT FROM RACISM
There’s a plethora of disturbing instances of racial abuse on Twitter, aimed at everyone from footballers and activists to Love Island contestants. Activist and model Munroe Bergdorf has experienced outrageous transphobic and racist bile across social media after speaking out about white privilege and supremacy in the wake of Charlottesville.
A recent investigation by the Daily Beast found that Twitter allows advertisers to target users that engage in hate speech and use hateful words, including the N-word. Since then, Twitter claims to have “fixed” this and added safeguards. The site found that Twitter had 18.6 million accounts that were “likely” to engage with the word “Nazi,” and 14.5 million users had an “interest” in the N-word.