A medical clinic in Oregon has become the latest victim of a bomb threat after enduring harassment from anti-LGBTQ+ social media account Libs of TikTok. Hospital staff confirmed that last Thursday (August 3) they received the anonymous threat, forcing evacuations of the building through Friday.
Libs of TikTok targeted the Oregon Health & Science University’s Richmond Family Health Center when a cancer patient claimed to have been denied service for anti-trans remarks. As reported by Oregon Public Broadcasting, patient Marlene Barbera said she had complained about a “transgenderism banner” displayed in the lobby, which she likened to a “Nazi flag behind the reception desk.”
In Barbera’s own words, there were verbal confrontations with staff, including trans employees, resulting in an email dropping her as a patient. The alleged email cited “ongoing disrespectful and hurtful remarks about our LGBTQ community and staff.”
Nicole Rideout, a spokesperson for OHSU, said the clinic could not legally comment on any patient information. In referring to Barbera’s case, Rideout cited general policy: “OHSU patients, families and visitors have a responsibility to refrain from using discriminatory, profane, derogatory or threatening language, imagery or behavior, and understand that these behaviors can result in limitation of visiting privileges and impact access to care at OHSU.”
On August 2, Libs of TikTok amplified Barbera’s complaints in a tweet that quickly accrued over 4.4 million views. The bomb threat came the very next day.
In March of last year, OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital was also targeted by Libs of TikTok for offering gender-affirming care. Staff have subsequently reported mounting right-wing attention and vitriol.
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“[OHSU] Richmond employees have endured countless threats of harm, racial slurs, anti-LGBTQIA+ hate speech and more, with little to no recourse,” Michael Stewart, chapter president of the union representing the clinic, told OPB. “As one person put it, ‘Richmond staff have been sharing that they’re worried something like this would happen for a long time now, and now their fears and suspicions have been confirmed.’”
Libs of TikTok is run by former real estate agent Chaya Raichik. In addition to being one of the leading right-wing activists to popularize “groomer” as an anti-LGBTQ+ slur, Raichik has regularly riled up her followers against gender-affirming care clinics with false claims of surgeries performed on minors. The result has been widespread stochastic terrorism, including a bomb threat which forced the evacuation of Boston Children’s Hospital last fall.