There are very few movie critics out there that people can name off the top of their heads. One of them is Richard Roeper, who took over for Gene Siskel on the TV series At the Movies for a time in the early 2000s. The critic is still a columnist, but the Chicago Sun-Times announced earlier this week it was suspending its famed movie critic for an unnamed amount of time as the paper investigates the possibility that Richard Roeper padded his Twitter account with followers he paid for. He's going to be on a short rope while the newspaper investigates.
The news comes a few days after Richard Roeper's name came up in a New York Times report about padding social media with fake followers. The report mostly looks into a company called Devumi that sells fake profiles on Twitter to pad the accounts of people looking for more followers on social media platforms.
In the annals of shady things that famous people have done, this wouldn't land Richard Roeper in jail or anything. In fact, other celebrities have done this sort of thing as well, and some of them were even outed in the report. Beyond Roeper, people like Shark Tank judge Lori Greiner, Great British Bake Off judge Paul Hollywood, Clay Aiken, Sons of Anarchy's Ryan Hurst and even Lucifer's D.B. Woodside were outed on the list. Other prominent individuals, from influencers to athletes and porn stars and politicians were also mentioned in the expose piece. However, Richard Roeper works for one of the most prominent newspapers in the country, and the newspaper has decided to investigate the claims before it takes action, telling THR in a statement:
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.
Richard Roeper hasn't tweeted since the Chicago Sun-Times announced the critic's suspension. He currently has over 224,000 followers on Twitter -- a substantial amount, but not a ton compared to some higher level celebrities. Kim Kardashian West, for example, currently has 58.5 million on that social platform alone. Celebs like Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Taylor Swift and Barack Obama have even more followers than Kim K, who doesn't quite rank in the Top 10 accounts on the social media site. In comparison, 224,000 is small potatoes, but that doesn't seem to be the Chicago Sun-Times' concern.
Richard Roeper has been a film critic for decades, and has been working for the Chicago Sun-Times since 1987. He also is known for syndicated columns, books he's written, TV appearances and, of course, At the Movies which also starred the Roger Ebert. We'll let you know if anything else comes out of Richard Roeper's suspension in the coming weeks.