Twitter took an unprecedented step May 26 when it added a fact-check option to posts by President Donald Trump criticizing the “fraudulent” use of mail-in election ballots. Trump struck back by signing an executive order seeking to limit legal protections for social media. But that dustup isn’t why veteran producer and prolific Twitter user Mike Medavoy is throwing in the towel.
On May 26, he posted he was quitting Twitter after the platform’s “refusal to deal with a known false statement about Joe Scarborough,” adding, “it makes me sick.” Medavoy was referring to Trump’s claims regarding the MSNBC host. Trump has repeatedly tweeted conspiracy theories claiming that Scarborough was involved in the death of an intern in his congressional office in 2001. Even Republicans Mitt Romney and Liz Cheney asked Trump to stop making the claims out of respect for the woman’s family members.
Reached by The Hollywood Reporter, Medavoy said he thinks Twitter has a responsibility to label other tweets from Trump as false. “They have a responsibility to the people who tweet and read these tweets to find out whether it’s true or not before they accept to publish a tweet especially if it harms someone,” he explains. “By the way I would say that this should apply to anybody who tweets in their own name.”
The current landscape of political discord in the U.S. also saddens Medavoy, he says, as a former Army serviceman. “I am sad about how divided this country is. I lived in China during World War II and the Japanese occupation. America was the dream that everybody had, a united country that also united the world. Much has changed, obviously, but it is called the United States of America.”
A version of this story first appeared in the June 3 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.