Dear Lauren Duca: Trolling Happens

By now you’ve heard that the pharma-bro troll, Martin Shkreli, was banned from Twitter after repeatedly messaging Teen Vogue writer Lauren Duca.

She told Buzzfeed that “He’s an entitled creep and absolutely deserves to have his account suspended — perhaps indefinitely.”

There is, of course, two sides to every story.

For instance, Duca conveniently forgets that she was the first to initiate any mentioning of Shkreli on Twitter.

I would argue that taking a candid photo of someone at a restaurant to spread on Twitter is more harassment than online trolling.

Shkreli is a troll, plain and simple. He’s famous for acting cavalier towards his court case, often even imitating our troll-in-chief in his facial expressions.

He’s a successful CEO, with a net worth of $100 million. Asking a liberal writer on a date to the inauguration is simply a joke. If you accepted, great — it’s content and amusing to his followers and brand. If not — well, we all saw the consequences.

Lauren, you fell for the first rule of trolls: don’t feed them. They just dig in deeper. Shkreli is a rabble rouser. Much like Milo Yiannopoulos. They thrive off of social dissidence. Hell, he made it through the onslaught of negative press when he raised the price of his drug, because few read past the headlines. When you actually take the time to read into his motives, it all comes together.

Did you know that he gives away the drug whose price he raised, Daraprim, for free to those who can’t afford it? Did you know that he raised the price in order to fund research into a better alternative drug since many users develop side effects, and, being a drug for a rare disease, the then-current below market price of the drug rendered it unable to generate revenue to develop a new drug?

I’ll bet you didn’t, because you, like so many, only read the headlines and rarely actually do research.

Photoshopping a head onto your picture isn’t harassment — it’s amusement. Perhaps not to you, but to his followers.

But for you to freak out and say “you’re sick” over these images is simply opportunism at its finest.

You were completely fine with a man “voicing his opinion” to Ivanka Trump on an airplane in front of her kids when Ivanka and her family were simply trying to enjoy a well-deserved Christmas vacation. Is verbally abusing a stranger not actual harassment? It’s certainly more so than Twitter trolling.

But you strolled onto the Tucker Carlson show to defend this man, and then used that appearance to further your career by calling Carlson a sexist for saying “You should stick to the thigh-high boots. You’re better at that.” Which is, of course, stating the fact that you got paid to write a 102 word fluff piece on Ariana Grande’s boots.

So here’s two facts, Lauren Duca:

  1. Trolling is going to happen to everyone on Twitter. It’s the nature of the Internet. You’re not special, and you’re not being harassed by anyone. You’re simply the butt of a poorly-executed, low-brow joke. The only reason you get on your moral high horse is that it’s easy to get article clicks, retweets, likes, and followers from acting outraged and claiming to be a victim.
  2. You seem unable to take a compliment. Tucker complimented your lengthy Ariana Grande boots article. Shkreli found you attractive. Congrats! Now it’s time to climb down from your pedestal and log off of #OutrageTwitter. Being a constant victim is petty, pathetic, and downright boring. Here, I’ll give you a hand.

Besides, you were the one that said “don’t message me if you can’t handle the fire.” Maybe you should take your own advice and log off of Twitter if you can’t handle benign Internet banter.

Except you won’t, of course, because you’re simply using this as a way to advance your #brand and perhaps move up to a more prestigious publication like Cosmo.

Case-in-point:

Would you look at that! You were shocked at what Shkreli did, and yet now you want to go on Megyn Kelly’s show to reach a larger audience and put your face out there again. Tell me, what does President Trump have to do with this? Oh, right! Nothing. But it’ll attract more viewers and readers if you brand it this way.

Think of it this way: if you actually accepted a date from Martin Shkreli, I already have a Cosmo headline for you: “5 Ways That Pharma Bro And I Had More Than Just Chemistry On Our Date.”


Originally published at REGATED.