The former pharmaceuticals head had direct-messaged Lauren Duca, a freelance writer, on Thursday to ask her to be his “+1” to Donald Trump’s inauguration.
Duca rejected the offer, tweeting an image of the exchange on Sunday with the comment: “I would rather eat my own organs”.
Shkreli took offence, calling her a “cold you know what”, and changed his profile picture on Twitter to a doctored image appearing to show him sitting with Duca on a couch.
He also made his cover photo a collage of images of Duca with the caption, “For better or worse, ‘til death do us part, I love you with every single beat of my heart”, and changed his bio to refer to his “small crush on @laurenduca (hope she doesn’t find out)“.
Duca tweeted screenshots of Shkreli’s profile to Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s founder, asking “How is this allowed”.
Shkreli accused Duca of “[disrespecting] the sovereignty of [his] love” for her. Shortly afterwards, his account – followed by nearly 200,000 people – was removed.
Whether we regard it as a prime piece of trolling or a very clumsy piece of courtship it’s hardly the sort of thing that one should be banished from the public square for, is it?
And it’s certainly not an advertisement for female journalists, is it? The earlier generation of which had more balls than any of the men they worked with. Seriously, for all the idiocies Janet Street Porter or Liz Jones have inflicted upon the nation neither of them nor any of their contemporaries would have complained about this. Ripped him into small pieces publicly perhaps, but gone running to Mummy?
Brianna Wu, a video game developer and software engineer who intends to run for the US House of Representatives in 2018, tweeted that she was glad to see Twitter suspended Shkreli.
“His bizarre obsession with respected journalist @laurenduca is creepy and wildly inappropriate. We need to move past this cultural idea that any woman with a successful career has to endure sexist abuse from strangers.”
Isn’t that the bird from Gamergate?