Canadian actors, writers join Twitter boycott in support of Rose McGowan
In this April 15, 2015 file photo, Rose McGowan arrives at the LA Premiere Of "DIOR & I" held at the Leo S. Bing Theatre on Wednesday, April 15, 2015, in Los Angeles. McGowan‚Äôs Twitter account has been suspended, temporarily muting a central figure in the allegations against Harvey Weinstein. McGowan said late Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017, that Twitter had suspended her from tweeting after the social media company said she broke its rules.(Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
The Canadian Press
Published Friday, October 13, 2017 11:53AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, October 13, 2017 1:42PM EDT
Canadian writers, actors and women's rights advocates joined an international boycott of Twitter Friday over the social media platform's handling of the Harvey Weinstein sex scandal.
The women's boycott started at midnight Thursday in New York and was to last for 24 hours.
"Count me in!" posted Canadian-born actor Anna Paquin, who also welcomed any men who wish to show their support under the trending hash tag .WomenBoycottTwitter.
The backlash began after actor Rose McGowan -- a vocal critic who has accused "HW" of raping her -- was briefly suspended for tweeting a personal phone number.
Weinstein has denied through a spokeswoman any allegations of non-consensual contact.
American actor Alyssa Milano said on Twitter Thursday that it would be her first day in over 10 years without tweeting. "Join me," she added.
Model Chrissy Teigen told her almost 8 million followers that she was "boycotting for many reasons."
"To stand with the victims of sexual assault, online threats and abuse. And to boycott the fact our demented ... president can tweet nuclear threats of war I can't even see," she tweeted Thursday.
Canadian television writer Emily Andras, known for the series Wynonna Earp, tweeted the boycott is about respect for women.
"The only thing I like more than tweeting is knowing women's voices are respected -- on Twitter. So bye for now," she posted.
The boycott stirred debate, however, about whether silence even for a day is the way to fight abuse.
"I'm really torn because women going away and leaving platforms, leaving various spaces, is the goal of misogynists," Julie Lalonde, an Ottawa-based sexual violence prevention educator with 15,200 Twitter followers, said in an interview.
"They would love nothing more than for women to shut up and go away. So, I think what would have been more effective was if men had boycotted Twitter -- if men would have used their collective privilege and power to say: 'We're going to leave the platform until (it) takes violence against women seriously and treats all users in the same way."'
Still, Lalonde stressed Friday the boycott had already succeeded for the discussion it has sparked. What she called Twitter's "hypocritical" suspension of McGowan has also unleashed simmering outrage over online abuse, she added.
"This is the same platform that harbours white supremacists. It's the same platform where people can create multiple accounts to target a user like myself and not have it be a violation of its policies.
"It's that double standard that's really, really frustrating."
Many men joined the boycott, including American actor Mark Ruffalo, who tweeted Thursday that "Tomorrow I follow the Women."
The office of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a self-described feminist, declined to weigh in on the boycott. But Trudeau included a pointed line Friday in his speech to Mexico's Senate.
"Violence against women and girls is prevalent in all facets of life, from the studios of Hollywood to the digital public squares to our halls of Parliament," he said in Mexico City.
"As a gender balanced Senate, I challenge you to use your position and power to strongly push for the rights of women and girls in Mexico and around the world."