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#WomenBoycottTwitter: Here’s why women are refusing to tweet today

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Women from all over the world are calling for social media users to boycott Twitter for 24 hours after the service suspended Rose McGowan for violating its terms and policies.

The actor, who has been one of the most outspoken voices in the chorus of women alleging sexual misconduct by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, saw her account temporarily suspended shortly after she accused Ben Affleck of lying about his knowledge of Weinstein’s behaviour.

TWITTER HAS SUSPENDED ME. THERE ARE POWERFUL FORCES AT WORK. BE MY VOICE. #ROSEARMY #whywomendontreport

A post shared by Rose McGowan (@rosemcgowan) on

Twitter has explained why it blocked the star in a tweet, which insists it was due to the fact that she had “included a private phone number”.

However, many Twitter users expressed their horror that McGowan had been suspended, particularly given that the social media platform has been repeatedly criticised for not doing enough to protect women and people of colour from misogynistic and racist abuse online.

So, using the hashtag #WomenBoycottTwitter, a number of activists and actors began calling for women to boycott the social media platform in a bid to shed light on the “appalling abuse” of women on Twitter.


Read more: In wake of Weinstein allegations, Ben Affleck apologises for groping TV presenter on air


McGowan, who also used the platform to say that she had been raped by Weinstein, was moved by the sentiment, and now having had her account reactivated, has asked her followers to stop using the social media platform for 24 hours beginning Friday at midnight in solidarity with her cause.

“At midnight, we rise,” she wrote.

 

A number of celebrities – including Chrissy Teigen, Anna Paquin and Kathy Griffin – have joined the digital protest.

 

 

And it’s not just women involved in the boycott: a number of men have decided to join the protest as well, including John Cusack and Mark Ruffalo.

 

There is controversy around the protest, however, with some pointing out that women are effectively silencing themselves. Others have underlined the fact that this problem has existed for a very long time – and that it does not solely affect women: homophobia, transphobia, racism and other forms of prejudice have also been flagged as major issues on Twitter.


Read more: The damning video that suggests Hollywood always knew about Harvey Weinstein


McGowan – who came to a financial settlement with Weinstein in 1997 over an undetailed incident – has been one of the most prominent figures to speak out against him.

The disgraced producer has now been publicly accused of sexual harassment and/or assault by some 20 women, including Gwyneth PaltrowAngelina JolieCara DelevingneRomola GaraiLéa Seydoux and Asia Argento.  Many of the women disclosed these revelations to reporters from The New Yorker and The New York Times, prompting others to come forward.

Weinstein, who has since been sacked from his own company, denies any allegations of non-consensual sex or “acts of retaliation” against those who refused alleged advances, he has said in a statement via his spokesperson that he “has begun counselling, has listened to the community and is pursuing a better path.”

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, though, McGowan has said that sacking Weinstein is not enough, and has called for the entire board of The Weinstein Company to resign.

“The men of Hollywood need to know they own no woman. The days of Entourage-like behaviour and thinking is as dated as your largely bro nature,” she said.

“I’m calling on the board to resign effective immediately. And for other men to stop other men when they are being disgusting.”

Images: Rex Features

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