In Depth

#WomenBoycottTwitter: why women are falling silent today

True Blood star Anna Paquin and actor Mark Ruffalo among those protesting Harvey Weinstein accuser Rose McGowan's suspension

If your Twitter feed is looking a little empty this morning, it’s because hundreds of high-profile female tweeters are participating in a day-long boycott of the platform after Rose McGowan, one of Harvey Weinstein’s most vocal accusers, had her account suspended.

McGowan’s Twitter account, which she had been using to corroborate and amplify the stream of sexual harassment allegations involving the Hollywood producer, was locked for 12 hours on Wednesday for an unspecified violation of Twitter’s terms of services.

The Guardian’s Hannah Jane Parkinson said McGowan’s suspension was “hugely over the top and counterproductive” given that “private messaging someone racist epithets or open neo-Nazi calls to war” are regularly allowed to go unpunished.

Activists and A-listers are among those now using the #WomenBoycottTwitter hashtag to call on women to avoid the social media platform on Friday 13 October, in protest both of the site’s behaviour and a wider culture that silences victims of sexual abuse.

The idea was first suggested by feminist activist Kelly Ellis, who made in headlines in 2015 with a series of tweets recounting sexism she had faced as a software engineer at Google:

The hashtag rapidly spread across Twitter as more and more women pledged to take part:

Celebrities have also thrown their weight behind the protest. Alyssa Milano, best known for her role in TV series Charmed, was one of the first famous faces to pledge their support:

She was joined by other famous women including True Blood star Anna Paquin and film director Ava DuVernay:

Model and prolific tweeter Chrissy Teigen threatened to quit the site entirely:

Actor Mark Ruffalo, TV showrunner Joss Whedon and Westworld star Jeffrey Wright were among the high-profile men expressing solidarity with the boycott:

The 24 hours of silent protest are taking place from midnight Friday to midnight on Saturday, adjusted across timezones.

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