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Users launch Twitter boycott after it restricts Rose McGowan’s account

On Thursday, McGowan said on Instagram that Twitter had limited her access to her account, preventing her from tweeting, re-tweeting and replying to posts. The restriction was later lifted.

world Updated: Oct 13, 2017 09:49 IST
HT Correspondent
File photo of actress Rose McGowan
File photo of actress Rose McGowan(Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

Several Twitter users have called for an organised boycott of Twitter on Friday after the social media platform partially suspended actress Rose McGowan’s account for “violating its terms and policies” amid her sexual abuse allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

On Thursday, McGowan said on Instagram that Twitter had limited her access to her account, preventing her from tweeting, re-tweeting and replying to posts. She said was still allowed to send direct messages or read Twitter.

After the Twitter suspension, McGowan forcefully re-emerged, stating more frankly what she has long suggested: “HW raped me.” “HW” was apparently in reference to Harvey Weinstein, the embattled former Weinstein Co. co-chairman.

“Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein,” Weinstein’s representative Sallie Hofmeister said Thursday.

McGowan last year said that she had been raped by a “studio head.” The New Yorker expose that ran Tuesday reported that Weinstein had allegedly sexually assaulted three women, though the third woman was unnamed. The New York Times earlier reported that Weinstein paid a financial settlement of $100,000 to McGowan in 1997 over an incident in a hotel room at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah.

Twitter users urged others on the platform to use #WomenBoycottTwitter while protesting the website’s move to restrict McGowan’s account.

Several users also said Twitter’s action against McGowan was not justified because US President Donald Trump’s account remained active despite his tweets that they found offensive.

Considering McGowan’s stature as a central figure in the Weinstein saga, Twitter sparked an outcry across social media when it temporarily suspended McGowan from its service. The ban was lifted Thursday afternoon but not before a storm of criticism from Jessica Chastain, Anthony Bourdain and many others.

Twitter said Thursday that it suspended McGowan’s account because she tweeted a private phone number, a practice it said violated its service terms. The company said it will “be clearer about these policies and decisions in the future.”

“We have been in touch with Ms. McGowan’s team. We want to explain that her account was temporarily locked because one of her Tweets included a private phone number, which violates of our Terms of Service. The Tweet was removed and her account has been unlocked. We will be clearer about these policies and decisions in the future,” the company said in the tweeted statement.

CEO Jack Dorsey retweeted the thread and said the company needs to be “a lot more transparent.” Twitter has previously not commented on individual accounts.

The 44-year-old McGowan has emerged as one of the most vocal in Hollywood about sexual abuse and harassment in the industry. She has pushed for the remaining board members of The Weinstein Co. to resign in the wake of the allegations against Weinstein. She also this week called Ben Affleck “a liar” on Twitter, suggesting the actor knew about Weinstein’s conduct. (She and Affleck co-starred in 1997 “Going All the Way” and 1998’s “Phantoms.”)

Representatives for Affleck did not respond to messages regarding that allegation.

Weinstein, one of Hollywood’s most influential producers, has been accused by more than a dozen women of sexual harassment, assault and rape in a series of media investigations by the New York Times and the New Yorker magazine.

Police in New York and the United Kingdom have since launched investigations following the publication of an avalanche of claims that go back decades.

The reports have sparked both outrage and soul-searching in Hollywood over the treatment and exploitation of women, particularly young and aspiring actresses.

With inputs from agencies