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Oregon Medical Clinic Received Bomb Threat After Libs of TikTok Spotlight

Oregon Medical Clinic Received Bomb Threat After Libs of TikTok Spotlight

Patient and Libs of TikTok

The clinic was highlighted a day before a bomb threat was made.

Libs of TikTok, an anti-LGBTQ+ social media account, highlighted an Oregon medical center last Wednesday. A bomb threat on Thursday forced the facility to be closed on Friday.

Health care facilities that serve transgender patients have been targeted for attacks and harassment in recent years due to misinformation and conspiracy theories spread by social media users.

Union AFSCME, which represents staff at the Oregon Health & Science University’s Richmond Family Health Center said the threat against the clinic was a reaction to posts on right-wing, anti-trans online forums claiming that a cancer patient was rejected from the center because of comments she made about LGBTQ+ people, Oregon Public Broadcasting reports.

The center was evacuated after the threat was discovered, wrote chapter president Michael Stewart.

The Richmond Family Health Center provides some gender-affirming care services. There are also a primary care clinic and a walk-in family medicine clinic.

“Richmond employees have endured countless threats of harm, racial slurs, anti-LGBTQIA+ hate speech, and more, with little to no recourse,” Stewart wrote in the email, according to 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.’”

Patient Marlene Barbera complained about a transgender Pride flag suspended in the reception room of the Richmond clinic where she was being treated for breast cancer. Several right-wing media websites published Barbera’s statements, according to OPB, where she asserted “gender to be a nonsense and sexed bodies to be a reality.” She added that she was uneasy about returning to the clinic with an “enormous transgenderism banner” strung like a “Nazi flag behind the reception desk.”

A day before the bomb threat, the anti-LGBTQ+ social media account Libs of TikTok posted about Barbera’s report.

“A woman receiving cancer treatment at @OHSUNews was told she can no longer be a patient at the clinic after she sent a message criticizing a trans flag hanging prominently at the entrance. She told us that they requested she go for ‘re-education’ and she refused,” Libs of TikTok wrote Wednesday evening on X, previously Twitter.

The tweet has been viewed more than 4.4 million times since Wednesday afternoon.

In the past, the account’s owner, Chaya Raichik, has used her platform to harass and threaten children’s hospitals that treat transgender teens and young adults. She’s also gone after school systems that carry LGBTQ-inclusive books.

Terrorism experts are not surprised by the increase in threats and attacks on facilities and institutions highlighted by Libs of TikTok. They say that accounts like Libs of TikTok and other far-right anti-trans extremist groups engage in what could be considered stochastic terrorism tactics.

An anonymous bomb threat was sent to Boston Children’s Hospital last year after Raichik tweeted about over a dozen false claims the hospital performed hysterectomies on children. Raichik made similar false allegations at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C. The hospital received hostile emails and phone calls in response.

A letter Barbera claimed was sent to her by OHSU revoked her patient status “because of ongoing disrespectful and hurtful remarks about our LGBTQ community and staff.”

According to OHSU spokesperson Nicole Rideout, the hospital cannot confirm a patient’s status. However, she cited hospital policies concerning the alleged conflict between Barbera and hospital staff: “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.”

She noted that it is a condition of the regulations to adhere to those guidelines.

Stewart told his union members that the attack on OHSU directly endangered their trans coworkers. He called on the hospital administration to provide factual information about the situation, increase protection protocols, and provide mental health resources to employees.

Rideout said Richmond has added security measures and offers wellness resources to its employees.

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