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Actress Rose McGowan was temporarily suspended from Twitter for 12 hours on Wednesday night, forcing her to only use DMs until she deleted a tweet that allegedly violated the service’s rules. In response, women across Twitter are pledging to boycott the site on Friday, saying the platform punishes women for speaking out about harassment but does not punish the harassers themselves.
McGowan has been very vocal about the prevalence of sexual harassment and assault in Hollywood, especially since the allegations against Harvey Weinstein came to light. The New York Times said her suspension may be over tweets directed at Ben Affleck, alleging that the American actor knew that Weinstein was sexually harassing women. Another tweet from McGowan claimed that various figures in Hollywood were well aware of Weinstein’s actions, yet did nothing to stop him.
Ben Affleck fuck off— rose mcgowan (@rosemcgowan) October 10, 2017
@benaffleck “GODDAMNIT! I TOLD HIM TO STOP DOING THAT” you said that to my face. The press conf I was made to go to after assault. You lie.— rose mcgowan (@rosemcgowan) October 10, 2017
Bob Weinstein is a POS. They allllll knew. pic.twitter.com/zWJZf52ywq— rose mcgowan (@rosemcgowan) October 11, 2017
Twitter has since told the Hollywood Reporter that McGowan’s account has been unlocked. But for many feminists, her suspension represents a much larger problem with rampant misogyny on the social media service. So now women are tweeting out #WomenBoycottTwitter, calling on women to leave Twitter on Friday the 13th in protest.
The idea in drawing attention to McGowan’s suspension is to expose the double standards in Twitter’s rule enforcement. While white supremacists, misogynists, and ISIS accounts run freely on the site—and the president can threaten world leaders—women like McGowan are punished for simply telling the truth.
Rose McGowan attacks sexual harassers. Gets suspended.— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) October 12, 2017
Richard Spencer attacks minorities. Gets blue checkmark.
One of these people is a white supremacist.— Mikel Jollett (@Mikel_Jollett) October 12, 2017
The other is an actress who spoke out on sexual harassment
Guess who was suspended by Twitter? pic.twitter.com/prPcMKdHkL
Every damn day @Jack— CountessofNambia (@theClaudiaInez) October 12, 2017
You're either part of the problem or part of the solution
This is an attack on all women. Get it together, @Twitter.— Nancy Dolan (@nancyd922) October 12, 2017
And of course, #WomenBoycottTwitter isn’t just for women. Men are welcome to join in, too, by leaving the site for the day in solidarity.
#WomenBoycottTwitter tomorrow 10/13 along with the men that support us. I'm starting early.— Cat Edison (@CatEdison) October 12, 2017
Harassment remains an ongoing issue on Twitter. Studies show harassment still plagues the internet, and it took until mid-2016 for Twitter to ban over 300,000 accounts that were “promoting terrorism” on the site. Previous investigative reports reveal that Twitter’s focus on growth and revenue outpaced the site’s need for anti-harassment tools, letting abuse take over as the site continued to embrace more users. Perhaps a boycott will shine a light on this business decision.
Ana Valens is a reporter specializing in online queer communities, marginalized identities, and adult content creation. She is Daily Dot's Trans/Sex columnist. Her work has appeared at Vice, Vox, Truthout, Bitch Media, Kill Screen, Rolling Stone, and the Toast. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and spends her free time developing queer adult games.