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Twitter bans Martin Shkreli for harassing journalist

The pharma bro relentlessly trolled and harassed Lauren Duca, who reached out to Twitter and had his account suspended

Martin Shkreli, the pharmaceutical boss loathed for hiking the price of a drug that treats Aids, has been suspended from Twitter for harassing writer Lauren Duca.

Duca, who writes for Teen Vogue, shared the DM Shkreli sent her last week, in which he asked her to be his plus one for president-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration. She captioned an image of his invitation: “I would rather eat my own organs”. Duca told Buzzfeed that his invitation was “an act of trolling”, adding: “I didn’t see the need to respect his privacy”. 

Shkreli is known for hiking the price of Daraprim, a treatment for Aids, from $13.50 to $750. He is currently awaiting trial for fraud, a charge that saw him step down from his role at Turing Pharmaceuticals.

In the aftermath, Shkreli changed his Twitter profile picture to an edited image of Duca with her husband to include his own face. He updated his cover photo to a photo collage of the journalist with a caption: “For better or worse, ‘til death do us part, I love you with every single beat of my heart”.

His bio read: “small crush on @laurenduca (hope she doesn’t find out)”.

Shkreli also told her she was “(disrespecting) the sovereignty of (his) love”. Duca tweeted Twitter founder Jack Dorsey with screenshots of Shkreli’s actions and profile, asking him: “How is this allowed”.

The pharma bro’s account, which was followed by over 200,000 people, was later suspended. A spokesman for Shkreli told the BBC he was “not stalking or harassing anyone” and that he hoped his account would be put back up.

“He was not stalking or harassing anyone with his tweets but using the platform as a legitimate means to communicate directly, which he does regularly. He is not a social media stalker and fully respects the rights and privacy of anyone he communicates with,” the spokesperson stated.

Lauren Duca has borne the brunt of Trump supporter’s vitriol following her article in Teen Vogue, “Donald Trump is gaslighting America”. She criticised how he has repeatedly contradicted himself, avoided examination of flimsy policies, manipulated the public and undermined real facts.

She faced off with Fox News presenter Tucker Carlson in debate over members of the public confronting Ivanka Trump.

Since then, Duca has published evidence of abuse and threats online. After learning about Shkreli’s suspension from Twitter, she told Buzzfeed news: “He’s an entitled creep and absolutely deserves to have his account suspended —perhaps indefinitely.”

“I think Martin should know that under no circumstances would I touch him with a 10-foot pole. It has nothing to do with Donald Trump, but with the fact that he has committed an act of pharmaceutical terrorism.”