Chicago Sun-Times film critic Richard Roeper has been suspended after a New York Times expose listed him as one of several prominent personalities who had allegedly padded their social media accounts by purchasing fake followers. Roeper’s reviews and columns will not be published by the newspaper while his Twitter following is being investigated, Chicago Sun-Times announced on Monday.
Roeper was named in a New York Times report published on Saturday that listed several prominent journalists, sports stars, politicians and celebrities who had allegedly paid a little known American company named Devumi to boost their Twitter followers, including through fake accounts. The report did not detail how many of Roeper’s more than 225,000 Twitter followers could be considered fake.
“We became aware over the weekend of issues relating to Rich Roeper’s Twitter account,” Sun-Times editor-in-chief Chris Fusco said in a statement. “We’re investigating these issues. We will not be publishing any reviews or columns by Rich until this investigation is complete.”
A day before the New York Times report was published, Chicago Sun-Times had announced that it would expand Roepe’s role at the publication, bringing him back as a columnist with twice-weekly general interest pieces alongside his weekly film reviews.
Roeper has associated with the newspaper since 1987, writing on politics, media and entertainment. He appeared alongside the film critic Roger Ebert in his television series At the Movies with from 2000 to 2008. Roeper is also the author of seven books and has written for numerous publications.