Film critic Richard Roeper has been reinstated at the Chicago Sun-Times days after he was suspended for buying Twitter followers.
In a statement issued on Saturday, the paper said its investigation into his purchases showed that Roeper spent $650 of his own money on 50,000 fake followers between July 2014 and July 2016.
Because he cooperated with the investigation fully, providing receipts of his purchases, and the paper had no explicit policy prohibiting such behavior, Roeper was reinstated late Friday evening.
He will be allowed to continue to write reviews and “entertainment stories — but not general interest news columns.” However, he was ordered to delete his existing Twitter account and create a new one from scratch.
The paper said it would instate a new policy “to clarify what we thought was obvious — that journalists should not pay to acquire followers on social media.”
In his own statement, Roeper said, “I want to express my thanks to the many colleagues and friends — and readers and listeners and viewers — that have reached out to me over the last few days to express support. Your trust is something I have worked hard to earn over the course of my career. Moving forward, I will do everything I can to keep that trust.”
Roeper was named in a report from the New York Times last weekend as one of several big-name clients of Devumi, a shadowy company specializing in the creation and of fake Twitter followings.
“Scandal” star Katie Lowes, French musician D.J. Snake, “Real Housewives of New York City” star Sonja Morgan and “American Idol” alum Clay Aiken were also among those outed as clients of Devumi by the Times report.