We’ve lost count of all of the suspensions and firings that have happened in the wake of the #MeToo movement, so when we read that the Chicago Sun-Times had suspended film critic Richard Roeper indefinitely, naturally we assumed there had been a sexual harassment claim.
But that’s not why Roeper was suspended. Reportedly, he was given the boot for buying fake Twitter followers.
BREAKING NEWS: Film critic Richard Roeper suspended indefinitely by Chicago-Sun Times for buying fake Twitter followers.
— Dave Vescio (@DaveVescio) January 30, 2018
The Chicago Sun-Times will not publish columns or reviews authored by Richard Roeper as the newspaper investigates the legitimacy of Roeper’s sizable Twitter following. https://t.co/jR1ArT0MIe
— Chicago Sun-Times (@Suntimes) January 30, 2018
That seems … harsh? The New York Times’ Sopan Deb just had to ask.
i'm asking genuinely with no snark: is this worth a suspension? https://t.co/1LMoVhXoeI
— Sopan Deb (@SopanDeb) January 30, 2018
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) January 30, 2018
— andrew kaczynski? (@KFILE) January 30, 2018
Not in my book. And I think paying for fake followers is incredibly dumb and silly. But suspension worthy? Nah, not if he's not in a social-media job.
— Seth Mandel (@SethAMandel) January 30, 2018
Uh, definitely not. https://t.co/VuzKQ5ZEvQ
— Pat120 (@Pat120) January 30, 2018
certainly not if it wasn't a written rule (which apparently it wasn't?)
— Dan Saltzstein (@dansaltzstein) January 30, 2018
I don’t think so. https://t.co/vB9kmO5AAe
— Bec (@beccanalia) January 30, 2018
No. It has nothing to do with his actual job and is simply a dumb thing to do. https://t.co/vyeZ4tS5MX
— (((AG))) (@AG_Conservative) January 30, 2018
Nope – not worth a suspension unless there's a monetary compensation tied to those numbers. Still, then, a temporary suspension. #socialmedia
— Thomas Ritchie (@CreativeThomasR) January 30, 2018
On the other hand …
Having? No. Buying? Hell, yes. https://t.co/E7L5iYF9jZ
— josh rubin (@starbeer) January 30, 2018
As a misrepresentation of your reach and audience in a digital world, yes.
— Nick Rogers (@iamnickrogers) January 30, 2018
If he pitched "following" to get twice-weekly general opinion piece featured, and at expense of someone else who wanted to do it, absolutely.
— Patrick Sheltra (@100ThingsUtah) January 30, 2018
The Sun-Times report on the suspension doesn’t mention if Roeper’s compensation is in any way tied to his Twitter following:
In a statement issued Monday, Sun-Times Editor-in-Chief Chris Fusco said: “We became aware over the weekend of issues relating to Rich Roeper’s Twitter account. We’re investigating these issues. We will not be publishing any reviews or columns by Rich until this investigation is complete.”
The Times did not say how many of Roeper’s 225,290 followers were paid for. Roeper did not respond to requests for comment Monday.
Anybody taking bets on how many times Roeper's bosses told him in the last year to connect with more readers on social media? https://t.co/TII30byuq4
— Rob Pegoraro (@robpegoraro) January 30, 2018