Women boycott Twitter in support of Rose McGowan
Rose McGowan in Los Angeles, on April 15, 2015. (Richard Shotwell / Invision / AP)
Published Friday, October 13, 2017 10:58AM EDT
Women across the Twitterverse are using their silence to voice to their solidarity with Rose McGowan and victims of sexual harassment after the popular social media platform temporarily suspended the actress’ account this week.
Beginning midnight on Thursday, celebrities, journalists, and male and female Twitter users alike stepped away from their keyboards and bid their accounts adieu for the next 24 hours.
The idea was conceived by Kelly Ellis, a software engineer in San Francisco, who introduced the hashtag #WomenBoycottTwitter in a tweet on Thursday.
Individuals opting out doesn't seem to make a dent. What if #WomenBoycottTwitter for one day (along with men who stand with us?)— Kelly Ellis (@justkelly_ok) October 12, 2017
She followed up that tweet later that day by proposing Friday as the day supporters should say goodbye to Twitter in support of McGowan.
McGowan was suspended from her account for 12 hours on Wednesday after she posted a series of tweets blasting disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused of sexually harassing numerous women over the years.
She also called out other male Hollywood figures, including Ben Affleck, whom she claims knew about Weinstein’s conduct but stayed silent for decades.
Celebrities and activists quickly rushed to McGowan’s defence calling on Twitter to unblock her after she shared on Instagram the message the platform sent her regarding her suspension.
Twitter! Unblock @rosemcgowan !— Anthony Bourdain (@Bourdain) October 12, 2017
In response to the uproar, Twitter issued a statement on Thursday explaining that McGowan’s account had been temporarily shut down because she included a phone number in one of her tweets, violating the company’s policies.
Twitter said the offending tweet had been removed and McGowan’s account was unlocked soon after.
Twitter is proud to empower and support the voices on our platform, especially those that speak truth to power. We stand with the brave women and men who use Twitter to share their stories, and will work hard every day to improve our processes to protect those voices. 3/3— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) October 12, 2017
After her account was reinstated, the 44-year-old actress wrote a tweet to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and appeared to suggest that Amazon Studios scrapped a project she wrote because she insisted that Weinstein not be involved.
"I told the head of your studio that HW raped me," McGowan said in the tweets to Bezos. "Over and Over I said it. He said it hadn't been proven. I said I was the proof."
McGowan reached a US$100,000 settlement with Weinstein in relation to an incident at a hotel room in 1997, according to The New York Times.
Sallie Hofmeister, a spokesperson for Weinstein, issued a statement on his behalf on Wednesday.
"Any allegations of non-consensual contact are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein," Hofmeister said.
Among the celebrities supporting McGowan and victims of sexual harassment and assault by participating in the Twitter boycott are comedian Chelsea Handler, actor Mark Ruffalo, model Chrissy Teigen, McGowan’s former Charmed co-star Alyssa Milano, and actors Debra Messing and Anna Paquin.
#WomenBoycottTwitter because we deserve it and so does Twitter. Shame on you— Chelsea Handler (@chelseahandler) October 13, 2017
Tomorrow I follow the Women. #WomenBoycottTwitter— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) October 13, 2017
Ladies. Let's do this. #WomenBoycottTwitter. Not because of hate but because I love this platform and know it can be better.— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) October 13, 2017
It wasn’t just women boycotting Twitter, either. Many male social media users also expressed their support for the movement in tweets posted on Thursday.
I'm logging off today for #WomenBoycottTwitter because twitter, much like society, refuses to listen to women and make this site safer.— Mr. Double O (@MrDoubleOU) October 13, 2017
What? They boycotted Twitter today? Hey ladies, I think I'll join you, because I'm not hanging with a bunch of dudes. #WomenBoycottTwitter— Voice of Reason (@raggapegs) October 13, 2017
I'm with all the women. Her & her & her & all the hers. I am also with ALL victims (male+female) of sexual assault. #WomenBoycottTwitter— Patrick Ryan (@thepatrickryan_) October 13, 2017
Despite the enthusiasm, there was inevitably some backlash to the boycott. As the hashtag trended early Friday morning, Twitter users not participating in the boycott criticized the concept and its exclusion of other races facing similar problems.
Calling white women allies to recognize conflict of #WomenBoycottTwitter for women of color who haven't received support on similar issues.— Ava DuVernay (@ava) October 13, 2017
I’m not going to silence my voice voluntarily when many other women have had theirs silenced forcibly. #WomenBoycottTwitter— T O R E (@ohmoonbone) October 13, 2017
I will not be silenced by Twitter or anyone else.— Geraldine ✒ (@overheavenshill) October 13, 2017
A woman's opinion matters. Boycott? Shout loud instead #WomenBoycottTwitter
As a sexual abuse survivor, I will not boycott twitter as I refuse to be silenced.— KP (@krisp__y) October 13, 2017
We must keep speaking.
The way this hashtag is trending I feel women shouldn't boycott, but instead tweet more nd more. #WomenBoycottTwitter— Shehryar Shaukat (@1m_Shery) October 13, 2017