Chicago Sun-Times film critic and columnist Richard Roeper is under investigation by his media outlet following a New York Times report that named him as one of many celebrities who have paid to artificially boost their Twitter followers.
The Chicago Sun-Times editor confirmed to Inc. in an email that Roeper is under investigation. “We will not be publishing any reviews or columns by Rich until this investigation is complete.”
On Friday, Fusco said Roeper would be adding a news column to his film review duties. Management learned of the potential Twitter issue after that announcement, Fusco said.
Roeper has not responded to the story. There is no indication on how many followers he purchased from a company called Devumi, which uses “bot” accounts to artificially boost total followers. The New York Times reported that other celebs and “influencers” may have bought tens of thousands of followers.
Roeper was the co-host with the late Roger Ebert on the TV show At The Movies. He had 226,000 followers as of Monday, a drop from 253,00 a year ago. He also suddenly lost a significant number of followers in September, only to get a gain of 25,000 shortly thereafter, according to the New York Times.