In swift reaction to Weinstein scandal, Twitter bans ... Rose McGowan?

The management team at Twitter has about as much talent at crisis management as the DNC. As victims of Harvey Weinstein come forward to tell their stories, none has been more assertive on the Twitter platform than actor Rose McGowan. She has called out celebrities for either their complicity or silence in Hollywood’s biggest scandal in decades, including Ben Affleck, who later became the focus of earlier incidents caught on video. McGowan has also rallied victims and supporters to keep pressing for more transparency.


In response, Twitter has apparently taken the side of complicity, Variety reports (via Twitchy):

Rose McGowan’s Twitter account has been suspended for violating Twitter’s rules, McGowan said in an Instagram post. …

The actress has been vocal on the platform in recent days regarding the recent sexual harassment allegations surrounding Harvey Weinstein. She settled with Weinstein in 1997.

She called Ben Affleck a liar on Tuesday, as well as telling him to “f— off,” after he stated that he had no knowledge of Weinstein’s activities, and posted several tweets encouraging her followers to sign a petition to dissolve the board of The Weinstein Company, which she alleges had knowledge of Weinstein’s behavior.

As Bloomberg notes, McGowan had begun a campaign to increase public pressure on The Weinstein Company’s board members to resign in toto in the wake of the scandal:

Following a series of sexual assault allegations directed toward Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, actress Rose McGowan’s says Twitter ‘blocked’ her from tweeting after she took to the social network to name and shame alleged offenders in the industry, and those who’ve been quiet on the matter. …

Using her Twitter account, McGowan previously urged users to sign a petition demanding to dissolve The Weinstein Company. In other tweets McGowan listed the names of the Weinstein Company board, demanding their resignation. “They knew. They funded. They advised. They covered up. They must be exposed. They must resign.”


Did someone lean on Twitter to shut McGowan up? That seems a little far-fetched, at least until one recalls the reporting by Ronan Farrow and Sharon Waxman about Weinstein’s use of power to shut down critics and get negative reports spiked in media outlets. Farrow’s report is itself a potential exhibit of that power, as HuffPost and others wonder why NBC refused to run his report — or even cover the scandal on its nightly news broadcast:

NBC had initially been reticent about reporting on other news outlets’ stories on Weinstein as well. Last Thursday, when The New York Times first broke the story of Weinstein’s long history of alleged sexual abuse, both CBS and ABC carried the Weinstein story on their evening broadcasts. But NBC was conspicuously absent among its competitors and didn’t air a Weinstein piece that evening on “NBC Nightly News,” despite having had seven hours to put together a story (the Times article was published at 11 a.m. EDT).

Some NBC sources said that the broadcast was jam-packed with breaking news, including reporting on the aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting and the NBC News report that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called President Donald Trump a “moron.” But the broadcast also had room for a segment on NFL player Cam Newton’s sexist remarks to a female reporter and a segment about Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees.

Two sources familiar with the production told HuffPost that Oppenheim made the final decision not to include a Weinstein story in the broadcast, telling staff that Weinstein wasn’t a nationally recognizable figure. That weekend, when “Saturday Night Live” executive producer Lorne Michaels was criticized for not including any Weinstein jokes, he told The Daily Mail that “it’s a New York thing,” suggesting something similar. NBC insiders have told HuffPost that this has led some employees to wonder if this was an internal talking point that NBC executives were using to justify the lack of coverage.


As we know now, that Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominee scandal had legs, man. NBC News was certainly on top of that scoop. Well played!

Still, be wary of assigning to conspiracy what can be explained by incompetence. Twitter has a rather long history of punishing those whose message they don’t like, including Rep. Marsha Blackburn over her campaign-launch video. Conservatives on the social-media platform have complained for months that their “throttling” procedures for abusive behavior, launched earlier this year, have not always been conducted openly and focuses primarily on the Right.

McGowan is not a political conservative, but she’s been attacking a big Twitter asset: A-list celebrities. If they stop engaging on Twitter, they’ll lose their cachet. That’s why they responded so forcefully to the trolling Leslie Jones got from Milo Yiannopoulos over the Ghostbusters remake, resulting in his banning. Despite being a celebrity herself, Twitter may have decided to shut her down for a while in an effort to shut her up.

So even if stupidity is to blame rather than corruption, it still could be their biggest mistake yet. This now puts Twitter executives square into the Weinstein scandal — did Weinstein get to them or not? — and erodes their credibility even further. And in many circles, Twitter didn’t have much credibility left to erode. Her supporters will no doubt turn their ire on Twitter as well as the Hollywood power structure, and on the celebrities that McGowan was challenging in her stead. They will have gained nothing out of this exercise, and lost much more.


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