Children’s hospital hit with bomb threat after Libs of TikTok lies about trans youth surgeries
A US children’s hospital was forced into lockdown by an anonymous bomb threat after a campaign of misinformation about its gender-affirming healthcare.
Boston Children’s Hospital was targeted on Tuesday (30 August), with local police sending a bomb squad in to sweep the building after a threat was issued just before 10pm.
It came after anti-trans activists harassed Boston Children’s Hospital staff with threatening emails and death threats, following right-wing social media account Libs of TikTok sharing a post falsely claiming that the hospital was offering “gender-affirming hysterectomies for young girls.”
NBC10 Journalist Oscar Margáin tweeted a clip of the incident as it was happening, saying: “Bomb squad called in. They report no one hurt and are sweeping the building.”
Happening now: #Boston police set up a perimeter around Boston Children’s hospital after a bomb threat was called. Bomb squad called in. They report no one hurt and are sweeping the building.
— Oscar Margáin (@OscarJournalist) August 31, 2022
A few minutes later, he stated that yellow police tape had been removed and officers were allowing parents and staff to return to the hospital.
Police investigations are ongoing.
After Libs of TikTok claimed the hospital was offering surgeries for young trans people, a statement was issued on 16 August clarifying: “Boston Children’s does not – and will not – perform a hysterectomy as part of gender-affirming care on a patient under the age of 18.
“In response to commentary, last week critical of our Gender Multispecialty Service (GeMS) Program, Boston Children’s Hospital has been the target of a large volume of hostile internet activity, phone calls, and harassing emails including threats of violence towards our clinicians and staff.
“We condemn these attacks in the strongest possible terms, and we reject the false narratives upon which they are based.”
Following threats from online forums to “execute” doctors at the hospital, it increased security and issued guidance for staff on how to protect themselves.
What is Libs of TikTok?
Libs of TikTok social media accounts are notorious for creating right-wing hate mobs against trans-inclusive doctors, teachers, and institutions.
Creator Chaya Raichik wrote in a newsletter that she sought to “spread the horrors of what doctors are doing to young, confused individuals” while making several false claims about gender-affirming healthcare for trans youth.
Unearthed tweets found on 16 April, 2022 revealed that Raichik had also attended the 6 January US Capitol insurrection. Software developer Travis Brown tweeted he had revealed much of the account’s history, including its previous screen names.
“Pro-tip: if you want to run a viral moral panic account for the worst people on earth and stay anonymous, maybe start from scratch instead of doing whatever the f**k this is,” Brown said.
Washington Post journalist Taylor Lorenz then published an article detailing Raichik as the owner of the account.
Additionally, the digital trail she left suggested that her long-time online friendship with Florida Republican Ron DeSantis’ press secretary Christina Pushaw was connected to the governor’s hateful “Don’t Say Gay’ legislation.